May 19, 2021 – Annual Membership Meeting Day 1
Day 1 features DJ Kaykay47
Cathy Albisa, Vice President of Institutional and Sectoral Change, Race Forward
Eric Ward, Executive Director, Western States Center; and
john powell, Director, Othering & Belonging Institute; Professor of Law
Professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies
Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion
Description: Racial equity work in government has accelerated as never before. From explosive growth in our own GARE network to commitments from President Biden to transform the federal government through racial equity. There has never been greater alignment across government to achieve racial equity goals. In this plenary session you will hear from those leading the racial equity movement in government today speak about the extraordinary potential of this moment.
The Inside-Outside Job of Organizing Sustainable DEI Efforts: Culture, Capacity-Building, and System Change
Session Description: The California Capitol Collaborative on Race & Equity (CCORE) brings together approximately 30 agencies, departments, boards, and offices to build a people powered movement inside of California State government to advance racial equity, by deploying organizing principles inside and outside of the system. Hennepin County has trained over 9300 employees and rolled out a Racial Equity Impact Tool to over 1600 staff. This session will provide an overview of these efforts to cultivate organizational culture, build capacity, and establish the necessary systems to support DEI and disparity reduction efforts. There will be an opportunity for participants to look at their own jurisdictions through the lens of these models and identify ideas, strategies and tools to further sustainability and resilience in their own work.
We Are Better Together: Capacity Building and Community Contracting through Community Engagement
Session Description: Community groups are the experts in how to engage their communities and should be resourced accordingly. The cities of Decatur and Durham are doing that – through the Better Together Initiative and Community Partner program. Their commitment to community engagement encourages authentic community partnerships and relationships. Decatur’s Better Together Initiative is a community-wide visioning process designed to cultivate a more just, welcoming, inclusive, equitable and compassionate experience for everyone. The process resulted in the Better Together Community Action Plan for Inclusion, Equity and Engagement that outlines action items for individuals, organizations and local government to undertake and established the City’s role in creating a space for open, truthful conversations about equity and systematic challenges. The process also resulted in the creation of a Better Together Advisory Board to spearhead the implementation of the Action Plan.
Durham’s Community Partner program contracts with community groups to design and lead their own engagement. Between FY20 and FY21, Durham awarded $250,000+ to 9 community groups to engage on initiatives from the 2020 Census to a new Comprehensive Plan. These groups represent 8 Black communities and 1 Latinx community. This approach has many benefits, including local financial investment, increased City engagement, and stronger community organizations. To help groups access this funding, Durham also held a six-week Community Partner Development Course to educate community groups on the City’s contracting processes and how to become a formal Community Partner for with the City.
Healing Policies of Transformative Arts for Decarceration
Session Description: Learn about reimagining government’s role in racial healing and justice through a decarceration lens in this session led by the California Arts Council’s Transformative Arts program team along with return resident, Richard Loya. Transformative Arts is the only state-run prison arts program in the U.S., made possible through a partnership between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California Arts Council. Throughout the session, we will present a case study on how a narrative shift effort to utilize humanizing language within the program became the impetus for implementing new policies and practices that focused on our collective healing.
Session participants will learn about how our team approached systems-based solutions for racial equity as well as alternatives to the recidivism-based mentality and the mainstream understanding that only individual acts of harm lead people into incarceration. We will demonstrate how the cultural shift within the program led to:
- radical changes to our request for proposal process;
- the incorporation of return resident advisors;
- the creation and implementation of healing-centered arts curricula;
- the formation of healing and decarceration-centered program values;
- a transparent five-year budget plan that supports BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of color) and small organizations;
- and culminated with a program name change from Arts in Corrections to Transformative Arts.
Finally, we will provide an overview of the challenges we faced, what we still must do, and engage in a series of activities together to consider strategies to support decarceral practices and policies for our collective racial healing and justice that session participants can implement in their own work.
GARE RE Employee Survey: Leveraging Insights Into Action
Session Description: One tool afforded to the network is GARE’s Racial Equity Employee Survey. The survey provides the opportunity to assess perspectives, opinions, and experiences with racial equity as well as the status of efforts undertaken within the enterprise. The purpose of this session is to highlight the process of conducting a survey, as well as explore the many benefits and outcomes the survey provided. All panelists coordinated a jurisdictional-wide racial equity employee survey, in partnership with GARE, and will engage in a moderated discussion, including audience involvement. The session is for those looking to enhance their data-driven strategies.