While the factors that compose the ideology of implicit bias are diverse, complex, evolving, and interdependent in nature, the structures and systems that cultivate historical patterns of exclusion remain substantially unchanged despite significant reforms and progress. Many inequities that persist today are sustained by historical legacies that are deeply embedded in the apparatus of legislative and regulatory policy. Despite the lack of explicit intention, institutions and structures have continued to precipitate inequities; without intentional intervention institutions and structures will continue to perpetuate racial inequities.
Driving Theories of Systemic Change Into Action
Placing racial equity at the center of policy platforms across the political spectrum requires a thorough review and analysis of the policies and practices that seek to inform the most important decisions across all sectors. Charitable nonprofits cannot lead this paradigm shift without driving theories of systemic change into action.
As the nation’s third-largest employer, nonprofits possess the ability to cut through the red tape of bureaucratic obstacles by incorporating equitable policy platforms into their existing policy agenda and remaining steadfast in our efforts to ensure that the elected officials who are accountable to nonprofit communities integrate explicit consideration of racial equity in every form of policymaking, including practices, programs, and appropriations in every level of government.
Challenge Your Nonprofit’s Commitment to Racial Equity
How can your organization challenge its commitment to ensure equitable outcomes across a broad range of nonprofit missions and policy agendas? In celebration of Black History Month, Independent Sector is organizing a Racial Equity In Policy Week of Action, February 22-28 to promote equitable policy solutions that advance the nonprofit sector’s efforts to support COVID-19 recovery and civic infrastructure needs. As part of our week-long effort, we are hosting several passionate descendants of notable civil rights leaders for an interactive exploration of how past lessons from the Civil Rights Movement can help to inform equitable outcomes in the present and future. Learn more and register for the February 23 event.
This week-long campaign, described below, is designed to help participating organizations seamlessly integrate equitable reforms through social media assets, evidence-based practices, and resources. Help elevate equitable policies for the future by signing up as a Campaign Partner today. Join our pursuit to shape public discourse by supporting daily actions that dismantle profound and persisting inequities.
Monday, February 22: Act to Plan & Plan to Act
Before embarking on the week of policy action to advance racial equity, make sure you or your network are familiar with basic terms and broad organizational practices to racial equity work. Plans can drive institutional and structural change. However, the goal we seek is not a plan, but rather an effective strategy to establish institutional and structural change. This not only requires resources to implement time, money, skills, and effort, but it also requires local governments’ will and expertise to change our policies, the way we do business, our habits, and cultures.
If your nonprofit is new to this work, take 20 minutes to review and select a Racial Equity Action Plan that can be used to support your current policy agenda. Use the tools in our Equitable Policy Resource Guide to share this resource on your organizational platforms and urge your network’s participation in the Racial Equity in Policy Week of Action.
Tuesday, February 23: Understanding Platforms & Principles for Racially Equitable Policy
What does it mean to apply equity to nonprofit infrastructure policy? Many nonprofits struggle to understand how the concept of racial equity intersects with their existing policy work. Implementing equitable reforms at the core of policymaking requires a full evaluation and analysis of the policies and practices that inform the most important decisions across all sectors.
Review the “Principles For Racial Equitably Policy Platforms” to understand why equitable frameworks should be applied to every nonprofit missions and policy agenda. Select 1 of the 5 principles that can be applied to a current priority on your policy agenda. Share this principle and resource with your nonprofit networks using the social media assets in our Equitable Policy Resource Guide.
Wednesday, February 24: Apply Equitable Frameworks to Your Current Policy Agenda
Integrating equity into public policy does not necessarily require taking positions on a narrow set of issues. Every single nonprofit policy position either reinforces or challenges inequitable systems. It is our responsibility to analyze impact of our policy agendas to ensure our policy solutions not only advance our missions but also close disparities and benefit all people in our community.
Apply explicit consideration of equity to your current policy work to ensure that your policies are racially equitable solutions that benefit all. Select three policy priorities from your 2021 agenda and commit to collecting and analyzing race/ethnicity data to track the extent your policy proposals will benefit those members of your community in greatest need. If you’re already looking at disaggregated data, consider adding one more variable to deepen your equity analysis. Data collected across lines of race, ethnicity, income, gender, sexual orientation, ability, immigration status, and often are used to identify equitable impacts of a potential policy. Use the tools in our Equitable Policy Resource Guide to explain why the use of disaggregate data with a race explicit, but not race exclusive approach is fundamentally important in policymaking.
Thursday, February 25: Educate Policymakers About Inequities
Nonprofits often see the consequences of inequitable policies in their day-to-day work. Therefore, their trusted voice is a critical resource that helps policymakers understand how well-intentioned policies implemented on-the-ground may disproportionately impact a subset of community members more than others. Your organization already is an expert on these issues, so feel free to share with lawmakers the data and anecdotes you already have on hand. If you need more ideas on how to frame your message, there are plenty of resources that explain how to communicate with urgency around racial equity.
Educate elected officials about equitable policy solutions that can help your community by directly contacting a lawmaker on an issue of your choice. Use this vehicle to inform lawmakers about the policy’s direct impact on people of color and other oppressed communities. Share this action on your platforms to mobilize your grassroot network using the social media assets in our Equitable Policy Resource Guide.
Friday, February 26: Help the Communities You Serve Inform Advocacy & the Policy Process
Those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the legislative process. Engaging underserved communities is the most effective way to ensure that policy solutions are grounded in and emerge from the experience of communities of color. Therefore, the most fundamental way nonprofits can apply equity to public policy is by helping constituents participate in decision-making. To achieve this, nonprofits must ensure the communities they serve are represented in the process of developing their own public policy positions and agenda. To optimize equity, nonprofits can also advocate to require government to integrate public participation into their decision-making processes.
Identify at least one way to engage the community you serve in making decisions about your organization’s public policy work. This can take the form of surveys, advisory groups, or individual outreach. If you already have this type of community engagement in place for your policy work, consider adding government public participation proposals into some part of your 2021 policy agenda. Use the social media assets in our Equitable Policy Resource Guide to share this information with your nonprofit network.
Saturday, February 27: Support the Equitable Recovery Pledge to Advance COVID-19 Recovery & Civic Infrastructure Needs
Support the Equitable Recovery Pledge to advance solutions with particular attention to the Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian communities who are disproportionally impacted by oppressive systems and inequities. Share the pledge and the enclosed principles with organizational leadership for future consideration.
Join this growing movement for transformational change by selecting 1 of the 5 Principles for a Common-Sense, Street-Smart Recovery that can be applied to a current policy priority. Share this principle or the Equitable Recovery Pledge with your nonprofit networks using the social media assets in our Equitable Policy Resource Guide.
Sunday, February 28: Leverage Coalitions to Improve Current Policy Positions and Support New Ones
Coalitions prove to be one of the most efficient and effective ways for nonprofits to tackle a wide range of policy issues, because advocates can share intelligence, resources, and workload. They also are a way to empower and mobilize a diverse range of voices around a particular issue. One way to improve a policy position is by recruiting new, more diverse voices to your coalition. For issues outside of your organization’s current expertise, one of the easiest ways to support those causes is by joining coalitions already advocating for equity-centered policy solutions. Connect with organizations across the country who are committing to eliminate racial inequities and drive better outcomes for all communities.
Integrate coalition mapping into your advocacy strategy by joining new coalitions and adding new voices and perspectives to your current coalitions.
Use this capacity building tool to explore the map in two distinct ways:
- By Geography: Explore organizations near you by zooming in to your city or town
- By Sector: Use the dropdown menus at the top of the map to identify new alliances or invite new organizations to join your cause.
Which coalition building benefit do you find most resourceful and why? Use the social media assets in our Equitable Policy Resource Guide to share this information with your nonprofit network.