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DEI Actions Update and a Look at the Road Ahead

New Year, Consistent Progress

By Samantha Hoare

December 22, 2020

Approaching a new year always inspires me to reflect and set new intentions. 

When I think about our DEI work as an organization, our resolutions are steadfast and already underway. This work is a right now resolution, no need to wait for a holiday to reset. It was really important for us to focus on getting to it, without the pretense of perfection, and we invite you to stay tuned to this space for ongoing updates. 

In Case You Missed It

A few weeks ago, I shared gratitude for the ways our community challenged us to be better, how we’ve listened and learned, and how Miami-Dade is committed to immediate action on our DEI principles. As a recap, we’ve aligned on two key priorities:

  1. Expectations & Breaches: We will more clearly define our DEI expectations and determine how we respond when there are breaches to those expectations.
  2. DEI and Anti-Racism Learning & Development: We will improve—and in some cases, reimagine—anti-racist and DEI development for staff, corps members, alumni, and advisory and associate Board members as part of ongoing, continuous development.

We are continuing to secure expertise and input from vetted, trusted, and honored partners. Based on the counsel we’ve already received, we are producing outputs—strategic documents—to test with our community and to guide our mission. 

We’re excited to share what we’re learning, what we’re doing, and what we’re en route to accomplish. 

Progress Report

Since my last update, we have hit the ground—not running—but building. We have gathered the critical tools and resources (experts, feedback, theory, etc.) to construct a sturdy foundation and a level starting place. We are focusing on concretizing firm outcomes and the pathways to track progress towards them; confirming strong partnerships and consulting relationships; and aligning teams of folx with the talent, passion, and experience to move us from ideation to execution. 

See our DEI Priorities and Progress Tracker here and take a look at where we’ve landed since our last update.

Actions aligned to priority 1: Expectations and Breaches

Advisory Board Governance Committee

We formed a working group with the Advisory Board to revise and develop board governance policies and procedures. Specifically, we are focusing on the following:

  1. Bylaws for culture and commitment
  2. Commitment to DEI
  3. Board code of conduct 
  4. Board composition, onboarding/training, and board member exit procedures

Organizational Accountability Learning and Audit

In partnership with our regional DEI consultants, Spring Up, we’ve begun working on learning and developing principles and beliefs behind the accountability structures we will seek to execute.

Reframe Development and Fundraising 

In partnership with Ace Xavier & Co., a movement resourcer and philanthropic guru, our Institutional Advancement team has started the process of re-envisioning our approach to fundraising. Ace Xavier believes that philanthropy is key to our collective liberation and is working with our staff to build the philanthropic heart by connecting aligned people to what they are passionate about.

Actions aligned to priority 2: DEI and Anti-Racism Learning and Development 

  1. Launched New Systems-Change Staff Teams
    1. We are seeking to align ourselves with points of improvement and elevate staff competencies across departments. Each cross-functional team aims to build people up to create systems-change in their roles and work-streams.
      1. Equity and Accountability Working Group
        1. This committee will significantly drive the work of Priority 1, but also serves as an avenue for staff development and learning aligned to our DEI and anti-racism commitments 
      2. People Leadership Team
        1. Working to align our managerial and staff culture practices to our internal set of Multicultural Competencies. 
  2. Drafted DEI Approach to Programming 
    1. This programming vision will inform the DEI development we’ll provide to CMs in early 2021 and inform our onboarding development and training for our 2021 CMs throughout the Spring and Summer.  
  3. Board Member DEI & Anti-Racism Development 
    1. In partnership with our national DEI consultants, the Racial Equity Institute, we have scheduled training for early 2021 for all board members to engage in REI’s “groundwater” training. The Groundwater Approach is designed to help practitioners at all levels internalize the reality that we live in a racially structured society and that that is what causes racial inequity. 
    2. Leslie Miller-Saiontz and I have already engaged in an REI “groundwater” training ahead of the rest of the board.

Accountability at the Core

As mentioned, we've formally continued our work with a regional DEI consultant. TFA Miami-Dade is working with Spring Up LLC as a trusted partner, given their expertise and lived experiences with transformative justice. The conversations and learning we've engaged in have been influential and thought-provoking. As we move forward on the trajectory toward progress in our commitments to anti-racism and DEI, I wanted to share more of my reflections on one core idea coming from the Equity and Accountability Working Group.

What is Accountability?

Spring Up introduced our team to this powerful video to ground us in the definition(s) of accountability. It brought up many “ah-ha” moments and pushed me to hold a mirror to myself and our work. The group ruminated on how to apply this large, and very personal concept, to the organization at large. One thing I'm considering is how accountability is driving us towards an aspirational future. It is a reciprocal force that, when internalized, it spreads. When we are accountable as individuals, it makes the question of how we can hold larger systems accountable more tangible.

We’ve been engaged in an organizational audit to map out our organizational accountability. We want to ensure this learning is aligned to who we seek to be and how we achieve our mission and continue using this intentionality to build out accountability beliefs, practices, and structures, including how we restore and grow from breaches.

Miami Love,