general newsletter

Envisioning a Race Equity Culture – Message From the CEO

April 26, 2018

In my lifetime, the discussion of race has been a constant part of our national conversation. From the consciousness raising work of the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, to the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1960’s, to the desegregation of public institutions, to our first black president, it may seem to some that we have made progress in racial equality in this country. But, then we see the story of clear racial discrimination in a Starbucks, read the statistics on the overwhelming racial disparities in our criminal justice system, and think of the many ways our society still exhibits a lack of true equity, and we know that we have a long way to go.

The landscape is no different in the nonprofit sector. We can take great pride in the work we do every day to improve lives and build stronger communities. But, we also must be a model for how our country can achieve true race equity. We, too, have a long way to go. Our colleagues at Equity in the Center, a project of ProInspire, have just released a report, “Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture,” that is an essential tool for the work we need to do. It is a call to action – how can we, as organizations that provide so much care, take the next step and lead the systems change necessary to live in a race equity culture. As the report states: “Race equity must be centered as a core goal of social impact across the sector in order to achieve our true potential and fulfill our organizational missions.” p. 6.

I urge you to read the report. Share it with your staff, your board, your colleagues, your communities. Have some difficult conversations – maybe uncomfortable conversations. Then, let’s all take the actions necessary to grow our commitment to changing the systemic barriers to achieving true racial equity.

Lee Sherman, President & CEO