We are looking to get both individuals and organizations to sign on. We hope that by also having groups sign on, we will both be able to stimulate discussion about racial justice and equity within these organization, as well as to demonstrate the strong support for this commission to the Mayor. We are looking for a wide range of organizations to sign on, including: book clubs, sports groups, non-profit organizations, community coalitions, companies and workplaces, educational facilities, religious organizations, affinity groups, and many other types of organizations not mentioned here.
Tips for Getting People and Organization to Sign On:
Lead with Race: By leading with race in your conversations about the Boston Racial Justice and Equity Initiative, you will be able to frame the conversation in the appropriate context.
Identify Key Stakeholders: Know who the stakeholders in the organization and social networks are, who would facilitate or block this initiative. Think about what their personal, professional, and other interests may be, and how this will influence their positions. Consider what will be the best way to communicate with these stakeholders, either as a group or individually. In addition, the Racial Equity Impact Assessment Toolkit by Race Forward can provide some more resources about how to approach these stakeholders.
Provide Affinity/Spacer Spaces: Consider providing and facilitating affinity and safer spaces where people can discuss racial equity/inequities with people of similar identities and experiences to them. In addition, it’s important to be conscious of one’s own racial identity, as well as the identities of others, when having these conversations. It is essential to take all precautions to ensure that non-White and oppressed voices dictate the conversation.
Distribute Resources+ Materials: Provide reading materials, websites, and videos about racial inequities.
Show People the Petition: Show people and stakeholders the exact petition they would be signing on to.
Dealing with Push-back : People in your organization may provide push back to this initiative. Forms of push-back include:
- Confusing: This involves trying to “complicate” the story about racial inequities as a way to question whether they exist, i.e. by asking technical questions about how the racial data is collected, analyzed, or funded.
- Denying: This involves denying the lived racial experience of a Person of Color by trying to invalidate their experience/opinions/etc through a myriad of ways.
- Exceptionalizing: This involves highlighting People of Color who have been economically, politically, socially, etc. successful as justification for why there already is racial equity. For example, some people might (falsely) note that we live in a post-racial society because the president of the USA is Black.
- Coding: This involves alluding to race without explicitly mentioning race. E.g. one might discuss the “inner city” to talk about areas which are mostly inhabited by People of Color.
- Deflecting: This involves trying to not talk about race by instead talking about another important issue. E.g. “It’s great that you’re passionate about race, but what about saving the whales.”?
- Scapegoating: This involves blaming a Person of Color and then extrapolating this blame to a group of people.
A commonality between forms of push-back is that they are trying not to lead with race and/or are trying not to invoke the difficult feelings and emotions that are caught up with race. Push-back can come from both White people and People of Color, although there vast differences in what experiences and knowledge those two groups of people are bringing to this discussion. Ways to deal with push-back include having a targeted and race-explicit message for this person/people, as well as to have support from peers with interacting with this person/people.
Contact us with any questions, or if there are ways we can provide guidance.