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NCDD 2014 Feature: “What’s Equity Have to Do with It?” Workshop

As we get closer and closer to NCDD 2014, we have asked our workshop presenters to share a bit more info about their sessions with you. So we are pleased to start by featuring “What’s equity have to do with it? Ensuring inclusive participation”, a great session being offered by Carrie Boron, Susan McCormack, and Valeriano Ramos. Read more about their workshop below and find out more about read about all of our NCDD 2014 sessions by clicking hereStill not registered for NCDD 2014? Make sure to register today

NCDD2014-blogimageNext month, my colleagues and I are co-presenting a session at the NCDD conference on the role of equity in public participation. Creating Community Solutions’ Susan McCormack and Everyday Democracy’s Valeriano Ramos, and me, Carrie Boron, and will join together with conference attendees to help answer the question, “What’s equity have to do with it?”

Taking on the topic of equity is challenging, confusing and conflicted, and requires much more time, knowledge and resources than are usually available. This is especially true given our limited session time at the conference. So, we thought we would give more “air time” to the subject here on the NCDD blog.

Those who work to bring people together in their communities to talk and find ways to make progress on various public issues often use the word “inclusive” to describe diverse participation. The aim is to have people from different ethnic, gender, age, sexual orientation, educational and socioeconomic backgrounds join the effort. Although such work is well-intentioned, organizers often miss the mark because they have not considered the societal structures and policies that perpetuate inequities.

Understanding the structures that support inequity (with a particular emphasis on structural racism) is essential for effective dialogue and long-term change on every issue. For instance, there are still many public and private institutions that exclude people of color. Schools in poor neighborhoods lack resources. Many police departments protecting and serving mostly people of color often lack ethnic diversity on their own force. Ferguson, MO, is the latest example of this scenario. We need to consider these structures and policies as we work to engage people in decisions that affect their lives.

Val, Sue, and I will be offering a tutorial on concepts related to equity, power and privilege; interactive discussions; and hands-on activities as well as best practices to use in engaging all kinds of people in your community. So, join us on Sunday, Oct.19, at 9 a.m. (bring your coffee!) for “What’s equity have to do with it? Ensuring inclusive participation” and dig into how we can ensure that people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to take part in civic life.

In the mean time, here are a handful of resources to help you create opportunities for equitable public engagement:

  • Race Forward’s “Racial Equity Impact Assessment Toolkit
  • RacialEquityTools.org, a website featuring tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for those working to achieve racial equity
  • Everyday Democracy’s “Racial Dynamics to Watch For” – This handout provides a sampling of scenarios of power, privilege and inequity at play in organizing, facilitation and action planning, and asks organizers how they might avoid such situations.
  • Everyday Democracy’s “Focusing on Racial Equity as We Work” – This handout offers a set of questions for community organizing coalitions working to ensure that they’re working together in an equitable manner.
  • Everyday Democracy’s “Facilitators’ Racial Equity Checklist” – This handout outlines a set of debrief questions for small-group dialogue co-facilitators to use in debriefing and assessing their work together and in ensuring an equitable dialogue experience for participants.
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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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