Embedding equity and justice into our culture through community agreements

August 7, 2018

Over the last four years, Resource Media’s journey to become an organization that truly centers equity and justice in its work has been primarily driven by a staff-led equity committee. Made up of no more than 10 staff members, the equity committee co-creates priorities using a consensus model. Priorities include moving Resource Media’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative forward and ensuring that all organizational decision-making and strategies are evaluated through the lens of equity and justice.

A few of the equity committee’s notable efforts to date include: starting a white caucus and people of color caucus to support ongoing learning and healing, launching a fellowship and pro bono program linked to equity goals, updating our policies and procedures to ensure an equity lens is used and hosting trainings and discussion groups on topics covering gender, allyship and decolonization, to name a few.

Throughout our journey, the equity committee has come to realize that how we work together is just as important as the work we’re doing. “The work,” or our commitment to driving DEI efforts at a historically white-dominated organization, isn’t easy. It necessitates challenging conversations about privilege, power, culture, race, history, pain, injustice and inequality. It asks us to question long-held beliefs and accept new information, which can feel uncomfortable as we work together to disrupt the status quo.

With this in mind, we co-created the following working community agreements to guide how we show up for ourselves and for each other at every equity committee meeting. Our aim is to model the change we wish to see in our organization, our communities and the world, by communicating from a place of compassion and honoring our shared humanity. We wanted to share these community agreements, largely inspired and informed by examples we’ve either experienced or heard of at other equity-focused organizations, since they can be helpful in many contexts. We encourage other groups to reflect on how agreements for meetings, committees and other convenings can ultimately build a better space for understanding, reflecting, learning and healing.

Does your organization use community agreements when engaging in diversity, equity and inclusion work? What works well for your team that we haven’t included in our list? We’d love to know, so please leave a comment or reach out to one of us!

Sarah Shimazaki

You can download a copy of our community agreements here.

You can download a copy of our community agreements here.