On June 9, 2020 we administered our fourth annual Racial Equity and Inclusion (REI) competency survey to all staff to reflect on their individual competency as related to understanding and advancing racial equity. The survey was originally designed by Hafizah Omar, with feedback and input from Nadia Owusu and Ratna Gill. The questions from this survey were adapted from GARE’s Employee Survey for Local Governments, D5 initiative’s Field Survey, and additional best practices from the field. This will be the third year that we have collected demographic data. The past two years we added questions that speak to our racial equity competency framework and questions on risk-taking. You can download the updated survey on this page as an “document asset” which you can find to the right.

With 34 respondents, we had 100% participation in the survey, however at least two respondents chose to skip all of the questions.

The survey results were analyzed by the CORE (Colleagues Operationalizing Racial Equity) team: Joanna Carrasco, Hafizah Omar, Chipo Sachirarwe, Alyssa Smaldino and Ellen Ward. We had the following overarching takeaways:

•In comparison from past years, we saw that staff were more willing and have more language to name tensions that they’re holding as well as dissonances they are seeing within the organization. Many of the dissonances named are a direct result of how adding elements of pro-Black culture without actively dismantling white supremacy culture is insufficient to grow an organizational culture that is pro-Black.

•Staff have grown in their analysis reflected by more nuanced language in what they are asking of leadership, specifically the Resources and Results (R&R) team of eight senior leaders. There is a lot of alignment in what staff are naming and asking of leadership, particularly as it relates to power.

•Last year, staff reported deepened understanding of interpersonal, institutional and structural racism. This year, we saw even deeper analysis and interrogation on what it might take to address the different levels of racism and how much they are interconnected. At the same time, staff felt the tools they have for addressing racism within the organization are insufficient.

This analysis is a deep dive into the themes and takeaways that came out of the evaluation of the Racial Equity and Inclusion competency survey.

The graphic below highlights some of our key findings and insights:

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If you have any questions or want to share your story on your racial equity journey, please email racialequity@livingcities.org

Banner Photo: You only get what you’re organized to take. by Josh MacPhee for Poor People’s Campaign