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Amplify Workshop: Adapting Anti-Racist Practices in the Workplace

Written by Nicole M. Young-Martin

Since the murder of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement, local nonprofit organizations seek to create a work environment that is inclusive and reflects the populations they serve. Adopting anti-racist practices, several of our grantee organizations have begun examining decision-making processes, organizational structures, hiring practices, and community engagement strategies.

The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts will host a workshop on adopting anti-racist and inclusive practices in the workplace for our community partner organizations on December 1 from 11 AM – 1 PM EST. Workshop facilitators include Dayna Campbell from the Women of Color Health Equity Collective and Kristen van Ginhoven of WAM Theatre. Anticipated topics include board development, leadership structures, decision-making processes, organizational practices, and community engagement.

Anti-racist and inclusive practices honor the mission, purpose, and vision of the organization. Self-reflection, accountability, and collaboration are key facets of the work. Adopting anti-racist and inclusive practices are important for nonprofit organizations to consider as they best reflect the communities in which they serve and meet the needs of the disenfranchised. Campbell offers, “nonprofits should be addressing systemic change rather than consistently replicating oppression and continuing to avert social and financial mobility.” Anti-racist and inclusive practices allow for those who are closest to the disparities to address them.

The specific strategies institutionalized at each of these organizations include: creating opportunities to prepare current employees to assume future leadership roles; respecting and expecting continuous learning and training, relying on a co-leadership model where two or more people lead the organization; using collaborative decision-making processes; using nontraditional board models; and being intentional about hiring people of color.

Both WAM Theatre and the Women of Color Health Equity Collective prioritize the importance of training and having staff members remain open to continuous learning. Those interviewed mentioned hiring outside consultants and facilitators to lead trainings on inclusivity, anti-racism, cultural humility and competence, recognizing bias, and addressing macroaggressions. These trainings are offered on an ongoing basis for staff members and two of the organizations interviewed plan to make these trainings mandatory for volunteers and others who interact with the community on their behalf.

For both organizations, they have restructured their boards of directors to include more people of color. For the health equity organization, their core board is comprised of all women of color with men of color and white people serving as “Allies of the Board.” Acting as an advisory committee, the Allies of the Board specifically assist with fundraising, leaving leadership and managerial decisions to the four-person women of color leadership team.

For WAM Theatre, they chose to revise the makeup of their board of directors. Having fifty percent of the board be women of color has become a priority for the organization, especially considering the decision-making authority held by this stakeholder group. Though they have a more traditional hierarchal structure with an artistic director and managing director with final decision-making authority, the theatre company now engages all of the members of their staff in initial change management conversations. All staff members are also invited to attend board meetings and to regularly engage with board members.

Tickets are offered on a sliding scale from $12, $24, or $36. Buy tickets now:

Amplify Workshop: Adapting Anti-Racist Practices in the Workplace