We have some work to do, and we invite you to join us!
This year we're focusing on exploring new paths to meet the needs of youth in our community. Mobility, mentorship, and advanced social, emotional, and life skills continue to be the priorities of our bike-focused curriculum. Investing in youth-driven leadership by paying students to lead program improvement, and learning to establish ourselves as an anti-bias, anti-racist organization along the way are critical components to Open Roads in 2019.
As we consider our future and the role we play in our community, we want to ensure we contribute to building more equitable systems rather than perpetuating inequitable ones.
Over the past two months, our Youth Board, staff team, and Board of Directors each engaged in a conversation about Equity at Open Roads. We took this Pledge, and encourage you to try it out too. It comes from a blog we're following, Fakequity, which is based on the premise that Fake Equity is bad. It shows up as all talk and no action. We're all about action here at Open Roads, and we need to get started. As a part of this community, we hope you will join us! Below is a resource guide for topics related to equity, understanding and dismantling racism, nonprofits, and books, movies, and other media to help guide your education in these subject areas.
As for the immediate future at Open Roads, we've established an Anti-Bias, Anti-Racist Organizational Change Committee to meet quarterly. The first order of business will be reviewing and improving equity in our employment systems and equity in our program development and implementation.
All of this requires a set of informed policies and practices, intentionally designed to promote opportunity and rectify disparities, and it requires informed people positioned to implement them effectively. Out of the *nine positions of leadership within Open Roads, three of those individuals are People of Color. Therefore, the majority of people with the most power and control within the organization are white and have not experienced systemic racism themselves.
A Few Definitions:
Organizational Racism: The way normal, seemingly neutral or objective organizational policies and systems (e.g., the way we hire people, recruit board members, develop programming) can create disparities in access and outcomes for racialized and Indigenous individuals and communities. If not addressed, policies and systems can increase disparities in power.
Anti-Racist Organizational Change: Making organizational changes like reviewing and modifying management structures and procedures in a way that intentionally addresses structural racism and creates greater diversity, inclusion, and equity
The Resource Guide:
Conversation Guide: Talking about Racism, Racial Equity and Racial Healing with Friends, Family, Colleagues and Neighbors (borrowed from National Day of Racial Healing)
Truth & Racial Healing in Kalamazoo: Advancing racial equity and racial healing in Kalamazoo and beyond
ERRACE: ERACCE exists to eliminate structural racism and create a network of equitable Antiracist institutions and communities, based in the Southwest Michigan region - they offer trainings and workshops to deepen understanding and encourage action
Nonprofit AF Blog: Vu Le is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities. This blog features an awesome cultural competence topic section.
Bicycle/ Race book: Bicycle / Race is a book of borderlands and intersections, a cautionary tale about the dangers of putting infrastructure before culture, and a coming-of-age story about power and identity. Our Board of Directors is reading this one right now!
Understanding and Dismantling Racism: A helpful booklist, particularly for white readers
Racial Equity Tools: A resource list of books and films
* The nine positions of leadership at Open Roads include: The Board Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer (who make up the Executive Committee), the Executive Director, Program Manager, and Shop Manager (Trike leadership staff team), and the Youth Advisory Board President and Youth Advisory Board Vice President.
We've been at this for ten years now, and we've grown a lot.
We're more in touch with how the needs of the community can be addressed through our mission, students who have been through programs are paid to lead program improvement, and we're learning how to establish ourselves as an anti-racism organization along the way. We have a solid foundation to move forward into the next few years with. We have an incredible team of board members, staff members, youth board members, and volunteers already implementing this new plan, and we're (perhaps unreasonably) excited to unveil our plans to you. We know what needs improving, we know what we're good at, and we can't wait to dive into 2019 with our community. Thank you for partnering in this work with us!
Posts Provided By:
Erin Denay, Executive Director - In Coordination with: Open Roads staff and board members, youth and parents, and dedicated program partners