Since early 2017 our team has trained a wide variety of groups. We have also provided equity assessments, document/curriculum/materials review, and equity coaching. What difference is this work making in the lives of participants and the people they serve? We see equity as an ongoing process, not a place we can arrive. However, there are some things we can measure.
How well are we doing what we do? Our pre and post-training survey results tell us that there is a significant increase in understanding on topics of equity, racial bias, and historical trauma. The results also tell us there is a significant increase in how vulnerable people are able to be in sharing their personal experiences, and how competent they feel in interrupting bias in their workplace. Our results also tell us that after trainings with us people are motivated to take action, including the following actions:
Pay attention to my beliefs and assumptions
Use an equity lens when developing and editing communication materials
Instigate conversation in staff meetings to more clearly define equity
Policy review - are our benefits and policies equitable? Review training times of day: events, etc. to be sure all can attend
I will do daily check ins about my assumptions on my commute home.
See how we can move this dialogue into structural meetings and supervision
Are people better off? We don’t have hard numbers for this yet, but we can share the equitable changes that groups have made because of working with us. Read the examples below to find out more.
ann Braden - “The Benefits of Being an octopus”
We worked with author Ann Braden on ensuring an equity lens in her educator’s guide and developing an equitable book talk for her book “The Benefits of Being An Octopus.” The book was released in the fall of 2018 and has made it onto NPR’s book of the year list! It touches on themes of rural white poverty, domestic violence, opioids, gun violence, and finding one’s voice.
Because of our work together Ann decided to center her book talks around the theme of encouraging kids to recognize the strengths of others and using their own strengths for change. The result has been overwhelmingly positive. In her book talks she is vulnerable about her own story, encouraging vulnerability in school audiences. She is also connecting every conversation to systems change, encouraging students to think beyond just what they can see and recognize that housing, transportation, labor, and support systems are making it hard for people to get by in a dignified way.
Read these thank you notes to see what students had to say after her school talk…
Ann also participated in Cross Class Dialogue Circles and had this to say, “For me, the cross-class dialogue circle laid out how much we all have in common, no matter how much money a person has. It laid out the ways the system we're in intentionally divides us, making it all the more important to be willing to be vulnerable so that we can connect at a human level. Because then we can act in solidarity to help people get what they need.” She wrote an article for the local newspaper - check it out.
Ann is an incredible author and person and it was an honor to work with her and to support her in refining her lens.
KIndle FArm School
Over a period of a few months in 2018 the Equity Solutions team worked with staff and teachers at Kindle Farm School in Newfane, VT on better understanding how poverty and economic inequality are impacting their students and the school. We also looked at how gender and class impact each other and can make it complicated to respond equitably. This school has a huge heart and an amazing capacity to support boys who struggle in typical public school classrooms.
We checked in 6 months later. The staff at Kindle Farm School have been busy! They rewrote their social studies curriculum to include diverse families, labor movements, and the economic context that led to WWII. They redesigned their family visit day to be more interactive rather than entertaining, so that families could learn what their kids were learning about diverse families. They have intentionally and creatively addressed racial slurs, gender biased jokes, and class biased comments. They have paid close attention to who they are hiring and into what positions to intentionally create a leadership body that is race, class and gender diverse. And so much more! This is a group that has really taken the learning from the trainings and put it into practice.
Mount Ascutney Prevention Coalition
In 2017 we began working with the Mt. Ascutney Prevention Partnership and Ascutney Mountain Promise Community to train staff and coalition partners from these two organizations and their counterparts from around Windsor and northern Windham counties. We provided a day long training on poverty in an unequal economy and set equity goals. We then worked with staff, partners, and key stakeholders through surveys and key interviews to put together a Community Engagement Template. This 43 page Template provides practical resources and advice for authentic and connected engagement with community members, supporting Prevention Coalition and Promise Communities staff to go beyond their usual approaches and to think outside the box about how to make lasting change in their communities. We facilitated a day two training on how to implement the engagement plan, including a community mapping exercise and action planning. Participants in this 9 month training and consulting program learned valuable lessons for actualizing community engagement across race and class barriers.
They are putting what they learn into practice! Here are just a few examples of how they are increasing their community engagement:
The Community Health Teams mapped out where they want to reach people with their annual survey, so that the survey responses are not just going out via email. They then took the surveys to where people are. The result is the largest and most diverse survey response for all 5 Dartmouth Affiliated hospitals.
They worked with a local youth center to put on LGBTQ social events and the result is that these were the most successful events the center put on all year. They received more funding to hire a community outreach staff person who is working with the LGBTQ community.
The Promise Communities created Parent Advisor teams to give feedback on grant applications and to plan programs. They were able to put together an economically diverse team and they found funding to pay a stipend to the participants who are considered consultants.
The Prevention team built a time into their bi-weekly meetings to talk about how to integrate community engagement into all they do.
We will check in again in 6 months to find out how all of these initiatives are strengthening families and the community.
Windham County prevention coalition, VT
In summer 2018 we consulted with the Windham County Prevention Coalition on marijuana outreach materials and on an Active Parenting guide for parents of LGBTQ youth. Impact update coming soon!
Greenwich Country DAy SChool, CT
In February 2018 the Equity Solutions team facilitated 3 workshops at the Equity and Justice conference - Mosaic of Belonging - at the Greenwich Country Day School in CT. Impact update coming soon!