Relationship Building Questions (aka ice breaker questions)

Calming beach scene of Hawaii, palm tree, rocks, and waves
Photo by Matthew DeVries on Pexels.com

Earlier today a friend asked for examples of relationship building questions. She remembered a few I’ve used in the past and wanted to expand upon some of them for meetings she facilitates. That prompted me to write down a few I’ve used in the past – some of my go-to questions or faves.

Think about the group you’re facilitating and why you want to use a relationship building question. In the book The Art of Gathering, the author talks about being intentional with what you do and why you do it. Be intentional about why you are choosing a question and how it relates to the broader goals of the meeting. Creating an intentional space and inviting people to share is important. Take the time to explain why you chose the question, make sure to talk about it in a racialized context – model talking about race and personal identities as it relates to the question and responses. This is a great place to introduce storytelling and using narratives to frame or reframe a meeting in a POC centered way.

When I introduce a relationship building question, I often try to remind the group why we do this activity and relate it back to a larger goal.

It is also good to model the question and an answer. This helps people understand your instructions and a way to grapple with the question, especially if time is short.

Make sure to read this blog post for additional tips and thoughts about relationship building and ice breakers.

Relationship Building Questions to Get you Started:

  1. Share a creator of color that influenced your thinking? Creator of color – authors, actors, cooks and bakers, bloggers, musicians, artist, writers. Depending on the audience I sometimes narrow in on one genre, but I also don’t want to default to assuming everyone reads – authors, or consumes media in the same way.
  2. What is one thing stirring in you right now?
  3. Place based question, great for place based work such as schools, organizations doing place based work, work connected to histories – What does [this place – name] mean to you? What is a memory you hold of this place? What is a hope you have for this place or community?
  4. What is something you savor? Why is it savory in this moment?
  5. Who’s taught you or journeyed with you as you learned about justice?
  6. Think of a time you felt welcomed – how did that feel? What actions by others allowed you to feel this way?
  7. What is a spice or food that you identify with? How does it harmonize or complement with other foods from others in this group?
  8. Trust is an important part of our work; how do you see or would like to see trust building happening?
  9. Activity based question, this is a favorite of mine. When done right people really open up and share memories they might not have thought of otherwise, make sure to allot enough time for it. – Give everyone a penny or have them to find a coin. Tell them look at the year on the coin and share a memory or something they know about the year on the coin.
  10. What are you bringing and what do you hope to take from this space today?
  11. What is a superpower you bring to the space? How will you share it?
  12. Who is someone, maybe real or maybe in thought, you bring with you into this meeting today? Example: “I am bringing my great aunts because they, along with my grandma, knew how to throw a party and make people feel welcomed.”
  13. What does a trusting relationship look like in the community?
  14. Thinking about the five senses – what sparks joy to one of your senses. Examples a joyful sight is a bowl of pretty fresh fruit, sound – tropical beach sounds from Hawaii where I grew up.
  15. “A name is a person’s most precious possession, a force unto itself.” – credit Kānakautomy (Instagram), What is the story behind your name?

Some additional notes:

Be aware of your group dynamics and where ableism, sexism, racism, etc. may show up in responses. Such as some of the food based questions might not be appropriate for every group, such as if there are people who can’t eat or are fasting for religious or other reasons.

If you have a larger group share out, remind people to only share their own stories unless they have permission to share from their partner(s). It is easy for people slip into sharing what others said, but as a facilitator it is important to create a space where people’s stories are honored and held in confidence.

Many thanks to people I’ve learned from, borrowed questions from, adapted questions from, or journeyed with as I’ve learned to become a better facilitator or holder of space and relationships together. Special thanks to Jondou Chen who writes amazing questions and I know some of these originated from him, and Amber Banks who wrote the original iterations and planted the seeds for trust building questions in here.

If you have a great question please share it. Email fakequity@gmail.com.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back end cost, research cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

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If you subscribe to the blog, thank you. Please check fakequity.com for the most up to date version of the post. We often make grammatical and stylistic corrections after the first publishing which shows up in your inbox. Please subscribe, the sign-up box on the right sidebar (desktop version). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the ancestral lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small action to hopefully repair and work to be in more justice based relations.

Fall Reading Guide

Library at a Vietnamese owned coffeshop. A partnership between the public library, coffeeshop and a Vietnamese organization.

Today is Yom Kippur, one of the holiest of days in the Jewish faith. G’mar chatima tovah to our relations.

I’ve been putting this blog post off for a while. Other topics came up, but this week with rain about to hit the Seattle region hard it seems like a good time to share a fall reading list. Grab a few of these books and settle in to read, enjoy, reflect, and learn.

Why Books

There are many different ways to reflect and learn, books can often draw us into longer dialogues with ourselves than a TED Talk or an article. Many times books are often a gateway into understanding something differently and challenges our views of the worlds we know. I know from reading different books this summer I changed the way I think about different topics.

Almost all of these books are written by authors of color; I am unsure of the race of one author but including it since the topic of the book is POC. Reading diverse authors helps us to broaden our narratives and combat the single images of people we can create if we only consume mainstream media.

Please pickup these books from your local library or purchase them from Fakequity’s Bookshop.org affiliate link. The proceeds go towards purchasing books by POC authors for public schools with majority POC students. Or buy them from your favorite POC owned bookstore.

Young Adult and Graphic Novels

Ophie’s Ghost by Justina Ireland – I honestly picked up this book because I like the artist who did the cover art. The book didn’t disappoint! This historical mystery was a pleasure to read to my kid.

The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor (graphic novel) – This is a refreshing take on American tall tales. It breaks the myths and legends around Paul Buyan and rewrites them to include Asians and People of Color.

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park – Another historical fiction book is a refreshing take on frontier life. If you read the Little House on the Prairie series as a kid and want something less racist give this book and the Birchbark House series by Louise Erdrich series a try.

The One Thing You’d Save by Linda Sue Park – Like the title says what is the one thing you’d save if you could only take one possession from your house? This story is told through poetry, and is a good one to reflect on our values. It can also open up a conversation about the current Afghan refugee community forced to leave with little physical possessions, migrants and immigrants fleeing violence in Latin America, or even historical events like the internment of Japanese Americans who were only allowed on small suitcase. Be careful with this conversation – I made my kid cry him after reading George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy and telling him he wouldn’t have been able to take all of his beloved possessions.

Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story by David A. Robertson – A graphic fictional memoir about the Indigenous/Native boarding/residential schools in Canada (and US).

Baby Books

Baby Speaks Salish: A Language Manual Inspired by One Family’s Effort to Raise a Salish Speaker by Emma Noyes – I was so excited to see this on the new book shelf at the library. I totally borrowed it despite not having babies around AND I put it on my summer book bingo card. We need to celebrate and promote language diversity and the preservation of indigenous languages.

Hi’iaka Battles the Wind (Hawaiian Legends for Little Ones) by Gabrielle Ahuli’I – This board book was at a Seattle Public Library Back to School fair. I picked it up and brought it home to read to my kid who is way beyond board books. The legend was worth sharing — so good. I am on the hunt for the rest of the series by this publisher and author.

Picture Books

I love picture books. No list would be complete without a few.

The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee – In this story a young boy has to go with his parents to their night job cleaning an office. His parents spin a tale of who works there during the day. It is an important book for making visible workers who are often invisible in our daily lives.

The Shadow in the Moon by Christina Matula – Mid Autumn Festival is days away (Sept 19-21). This was a fun book to prepare for our mooncake eating.

Seeds of Change: Wangari’s Gift to the World by Jen Cullerton Johnson – With the environmental catastrophes of this summer brought on by climate change, it was nice to read and share a book about positive actions we can take to be more supportive of the environment.

Fiction

My sister, the serial killer: a novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite – I rarely read fiction but this book was a page turner. Bonus points for it being an international (not US) writer.

The Break by Katherena Vermette — I saw this title on Twitter and picked it up from the library. The author is Metis, Indigenous Canadian. This book is told through different characters narrating their chapters and building on each other. It is a family love story. In many ways it reminded me of Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

Non-Fiction

Speak Okinawa by Elizabeth Miki Brina – There aren’t very many books focused on Okinawa or Okinawans, thus I was so excited to read this. The memoir gave me more insights into Okinawan migration stories to America and the nuances into Okinawan identities. BONUS Book: Okinawa no ohimesama no hajichi no densetsu = Okinawan princess : da legend of hajichi tattoos by Lee A. Tonouchi – this book is written in Pidgin English. For people from Hawaii or familiar with the dialect/language it feels like home when reading it. I read it to my kid and introduced her more to our Okinawan heritage.

The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor – Carrie, frequent Fakequity contributor, has suggested this book to me for years. I’m glad I finally made the time to read/listen to it. It changed the way I think about autonomy and ownership overall, not just as it relates to body politics. If you get the audio version it is read by the author which always feels like a treat.

Cookbooks

I have a huge stack of cookbooks from the library. I may not cook much from them, but I enjoy the pictures and reading about the recipes.

Cook Real Hawai’i: A Cookbook by Sheldon Simeon – This book is mouthwatering ono (Hawaii word for delicious), if I could I would eat the book. The pictures and descriptions of food from Hawaii makes me homesick. Even if I don’t cook from it I eye-ate all of the food.

Xi’an Famous Foods: The Cuisine of Western China, from New York’s Favorite Noodle Shop by Jason Wang – I’m still reading my way through this book. I appreciated the author’s honesty about how hard restaurant life is.

In Bibi’s Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean [A Cookbook] by Hawa Hassan – Flipping through this book, I learned so much more about African cultures and their food. I liked the book so much I borrowed it twice from the library to keep reading it.

Please share your favorite reads! I’m always on the hunt for new books. Email fakequity@gmail.com or leave a comment on our social media pages.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back end cost, research cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Adrienne, AE, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara, Barrett, Becky, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S., Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, Don, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Elizabeth, Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Erin H., Evan, Francis, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jackie, Jaime, Jake, JJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jelena, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie B., Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kim, Kimberly, Krissy, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sarah B., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah O. (2), Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan U., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tracy T.G., Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

If you subscribe to the blog, thank you. Please check fakequity.com for the most up to date version of the post. We often make grammatical and stylistic corrections after the first publishing which shows up in your inbox. Please subscribe, the sign-up box on the right sidebar (desktop version). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the ancestral lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small action to hopefully repair and work to be in more justice based relations.

We Often Forget Our Privileges

Panda resting on a log. Photo by Amu00e9lie Rec on Pexels.com

Earlier this week a friend messaged asking for permission to vent. Of course I said yes., This is how I learn what is happening in other places. She’s also a good friend who doesn’t complain to complain; she works hard and has solid connections and intel into different communities than I do so her venting gives me a window into other people’s thoughts.

My friend, Susan (her chosen alias name) told me about how staff at her school are asking for help, but some parents are saying no and hiding behind the excuse it isn’t their job, this is something the school district or state should pay for, if parents step in and volunteer it let’s government off the hook and makes it harder to advocate for in the future. Susan went on to share some parents were also saying if they volunteered at their own school it creates an “inequitable system” since other schools – namely schools with more students of color – don’t have the same volunteer pool. My friend got tired of their excuses. She explained to me part of her frustration comes from remembering what education was like in her home country: “[C]oming from an immigrant perspective, we are SOOO spoiled here. School buses are a luxury. Special education is a dream, even the crap at the [school district isn’t that bad]!”

She went on to say that often the ‘equity’ she sees these parents talking about only extends to those in their immediate circles and can be used as a convenient excuse – such as saying we shouldn’t do something because it will exacerbate inequities across the system (my answer is yes, AND we sometimes need to think deeper). Susan shared “[W]hen you talk about equity and wanting ever kid to have access to the same things, why aren’t you thinking of the children in our home countries? Where does your idea of equity extend to?” Her point being many times we are myopic in our views around the equity, we only see what is in front of us and not fuller pictures.

We Often Forget Our Privileges

Susan pointed out and reminded me having functioning schools is a privilege in many communities. In the west we often see this as a right and not a privilege. The same with many other basic infrastructures – basic health care, roads, electricity and water – I take these basic parts of modern life for granted. Perhaps we should remember these are privileges of living in western countries. When we think of them as privileges we will also remember that we must work to maintain them versus becoming complacent and complaining when they don’t work as we want them to. These privileges, such as public education, did not happen by chance. It took many decades and investments of time to get to this place where we have schools that function the way they do.

Education and other basic services such as health care are not perfect. They often do not serve our Black and Brown relations equally. The privileges do not extend equally.

Advocacy Change is a Looooonnnng Game

Because we know privileges do not extend equally across race, we need people with privileges to extend themselves to do both help people now AND to advocate for the long term. We’re smart people who can do both at the same time.

As Susan told me about parents whining and using the excuse they need to advocate for more money so they don’t have to step in volunteer I could hear her growing frustration. Advocacy takes time, it is sloooow, it is a long game. Even during COVID where we can sometimes accelerate advocacy to meet emergency needs, it is still a long game in the sense people need immediate relief. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic and especially in the education sector conditions change every other week. Thus, we need to step in and help where we can, and advocate for longer term fixes.

As Susan pointed out it is a privilege to have functioning schools and if we want them to be better we have to extend ourselves to make them better – and not just for our own kids but for all the kids. Sometimes this means volunteering to help others, such as if you’re worried about creating inequities between schools instead of volunteering at your own school volunteer at another school that needs help.

While I wrote earlier we need to remember education is a privilege when we’re advocating this is where we get to argue it is a right. I’ve watched and stood with colleagues who make these arguments to build Washington’s early learning system over the past 15 years, similarly with K-12 education system. We’ve had to convert policy makers thinking to understanding child care isn’t a privilege it is a necessity if we want a functioning economy.

Why this Matters to Race

I haven’t put much of this into a racialized context, so here it is… those of us with different forms of privilege – white privilege, literate, some form of education, internet privileged, etc. often can spot problems and think we know how to fix them. Yet, we don’t pause to reflect on how our privileges intersect with the problem. Are we trying to solve a problem so it benefits us first? Are we trying to fix something because we feel aggrieved? Are we trying to fix something in the name of someone else – people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants? Instead of working off that privilege maybe we need to step up and do some of the smaller actions that build relationships and immediate help so we can learn more about the problem, then use that knowledge to advance advocacy efforts in partnership with people who are impacted, especially Black and Brown people. There is a lot more to say on advocacy, but we’ll save that for another day. In the meantime, stop using ‘equity’ as an excuse to not do something.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back end cost, research cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Adrienne, AE, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara, Barrett, Becky, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S., Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, Don, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Elizabeth, Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, Francis, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jackie, Jaime, Jake, JJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jelena, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie B., Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kim, Kimberly, Krissy, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sarah B., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah O. (2), Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan U., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tracy T.G., Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

If you subscribe to the blog, thank you. Please check fakequity.com for the most up to date version of the post. We often make grammatical and stylistic corrections after the first publishing which shows up in your inbox. Please subscribe, the sign-up box on the right sidebar (desktop version). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the ancestral lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small action to hopefully repair and work to be in more justice based relations.

Closed or Open School Doors?

Before we start, please expend some mental energy learning about what is happening in Louisiana as they recover from Hurricane Ida, Haiti and their recent earthquake, the refugees fleeing and now stuck in Afghanistan, and the Supreme Court decision that effectively bans abortions in Texas. These topics deserve a lot of attention and people much smarter than me are reporting and commenting on them – take a moment to learn more and take actions to support the causes.

Black and white photo of parents standing on grassy knoll watching a group of kids through a fence. Other students walking by. Photo by E. Okuno.

It is the start of another school year. Like last school year, this one is atypical because COVID is still raging and the delta variant is uber contagious. Yet many school districts have students back on campus with a lot of mitigation and precautions in place – face masks, vaccine mandates for staff, social distancing, etc. As a parent I’m grateful for these precautions and hoping they work to keep COVID from spreading in schools.

As a parent and as an education advocate, I’m really concerned with the impact some of these mitigation efforts will have long term on our schools. Right now, schools are limited who has physical access to the school. From an intellectual standpoint I can understand this – fewer people congregating the lower chance of COVID exposure and spread. The other side of my brain and heart questions if this logic is enough to keep the practice in place. We’ve fought and worked so long to pry open schools for families to feel like they belong there, that they are welcomed into their student’s education, and to create a connection. Currently, the unofficial message is “You can come, but you can’t cross this threshold. Trust us to keep your kids safe.”

While many parents may trust the school system and schools to keep children safe, we have to remember that experience and expectation isn’t true for all. Historically schools were used as a tool and weapon against communities of color. In the US and Canada Indian Boarding Schools tore families apart and caused cultural genocide. If we look at discipline data we can see Black and Brown students are overly disciplined as compared to their demographics in schools.

Many schools have, and continue to, work to find new ways to engage with families and keep them involved. I appreciate these efforts, but I still have a nagging feeling the closed doors and locks are detrimental in a different way.

Trust

Trust is a fragile being. Right now schools are asking parents to put a lot of blind trust into the system to keep our kids safe. For families that didn’t have a good experience with schools either historically or more recently, to say you can’t enter the school is a hard message to hear. These anxieties will show up in many different ways, and I hope we don’t blame students or their families for how they manifest.

Schools need to find ways to bring the school experience back out to families. During COVID remote learning, many families had school in their homes on a screen, but that didn’t lead to authentic connections. Prior school years families were asked to come to the school, which lead to standard engagement. We need to find the spot where schools dig deeper and engage with families in ways that leads to relationships built. Locked school doors, staying on one side of the fence, and only hearing from the school when there is a problem doesn’t promote relationships.

Even with COVID and health and safety protocols in place, we need to find new and maybe better ways of building relationships and trust.

Investing Back

Schools also need to invest back in people- and communities of color. Many communities of color have invested heavily in trying to make schools work for our kids over generations. This is a moment to dig deep and find meaningful ways to invest back into the community so families feel a sense of connection to the school – especially since we can’t physically enter.

Investing back into the community means understanding the student community and surrounding community. Are you teaching about the local cultures by first understanding who is here? Earlier today my colleague told me about how using disaggregated student data exposed that some ethnic groups may have high rates of bilingualism, but when aggregated this gets lost. Investing back in the community means finding these heritage language speakers and asking about their experiences and sharing it with others.

Please also don’t go for the easy or token ways of reaching out. Dig deeper and look for ways that build authentic relationships. Co-create with your student and family community, find supporters from the broader community and create with them too. I totally get this year is hard with so much new, but take a baby step to do some of these things, as a broader community we want to help but with the doors closed we need to be invited into new ways of helping you.

I’m sure you all can think of ways of building relationships and investing in the students and families and community my tired brain can’t fathom right now.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back end cost, research cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Adrienne, AE, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara, Barrett, Becky, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S., Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, Don, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Elizabeth, Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, Francis, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jackie, Jaime, Jake, JJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jelena, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie B., Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kimberly, Krissy, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sarah B., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan U., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tracy T.G.,Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

If you subscribe to the blog, thank you. Please check fakequity.com for the most up to date version of the post. We often make grammatical and stylistic corrections after the first publishing which shows up in your inbox. Please subscribe, the sign-up box on the right sidebar (desktop version). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the ancestral lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small action to hopefully repair and work to be in more justice based relations.

In the middle

Photo of a gooey sandwich by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Note: No blog post next week – time to soak up the final week of summer. I’ll be back in September.


Earlier this week I joined a small group of family support staff for a school district just outside of Seattle. As we talked the group shared they were all immigrants from different parts of the world, yet this shared identity was a jumping off point for the conversation. They shared how they understood the hardships of being new to the county and having to navigate US housing, employment, education, and health. The staff also talked about the tension and burdens of being navigators of the system with newer immigrants. They want to support families in finding success, as they had, and helping to make the journey a little easier.

The Sandwich

My presentation and conversation points include a lot of food analogies and conversation prompts including food. Thanks to being primed to think about food, one of the participants shared how their role is like a sandwich where they are in the gooey middle. There is pressure from the top and the bottom – the school system is on the top telling them what to do and families they are working with are on the bottom seeking and asking for aid and support. At times that middle part of the sandwich is satisfying for them to be in because they can bring flavor and sustenance, other times it can feel like being the wilted lettuce or soggy tomato making both sides of the sandwich mushy.

This middle part is important to pay attention. Often staff in the middle of the system and family have the best knowledge of what is happening with families. They act as cultural and language interpreters and translators, they know of needs, and have direct connections to families. Yet many times staff working with families are our front-line workers. They are the first to feel the real stresses of a situation, to see needs popping up. They rarely have the power or authority to make systemic changes on their own, which is a hard spot to be in – pulled and pushed on by both sides and having to make do or work around existing power structures to get needs met or having to tell families no.

While spending time with the group today one of the values they wanted to make sure we focused on was appreciation. They valued each other and appreciated the knowledge, diversity, and relationships they have with each other. As we chatted, they shared how they impress this value of appreciation with others and work hard to gain the trust of families and to share their knowledge with teachers and administrators. We need to do a better job of showing our appreciation back to our partners and staff who work directly with families.

We also need to share power and resources with our frontline staff. At the end of last school year a family support staff member asked for help to keep his school district owned cell phone. During COVID he was issued a cell phone since the staff were working remotely and he wasn’t expected to be at the school building. Now with the return to school, his phone was being turned off, but he was desperate to keep it since families use it to text him, he had information and resources saved to the phone, it has become an important tool. If the bosses asked, he could probably point to some other resources that could be stopped or ended that weren’t as impactful if budget considerations needed to be made. If we asked the families or looked at existing data on how immigrant families prefer to receive communication they say in-person, phone, and text ranks pretty high – all of which a cell phone (more than a desk phone) facilitates meeting these needs.

How to Support the Middle

As the family support staff mentioned they want to share their appreciation and knowledge. They also want to be appreciated. While we may say we appreciate them, do we really? If we stopped and looked at who’s in the middle there are probably ways we can work to show our appreciation and make their jobs a little easier, here are a few that came up during our conversation:

  • Sharing access to databases they need to support families – if you inventory your information databases there are probably a few they would like access too. As an example, do they know which families applied for free and reduced priced lunch or other programs of the like? If they don’t they probably have to make 3-5 calls/emails to learn this information.
  • Do they have the tools they need to communicate with families?
  • Have you asked what is something they do but they feel they want to stop doing? We often pile things on without asking staff what they want to stop doing.
  • What language groups do they see emerging that we need to start hiring for? Hint: Pashto and Dari/Farsi, spoken by Afghans.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back end cost, research cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Adrienne, AE, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara, Barrett, Becky, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S., Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, Don, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Elizabeth, Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, Francis, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jackie, Jaime, Jake, JJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jelena, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie B., Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kimberly, Krissy, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sarah B., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan U., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tracy T.G.,Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

If you subscribe to the blog, thank you. Please check fakequity.com for the most up to date version of the post. We often make grammatical and stylistic corrections after the first publishing which shows up in your inbox. Please subscribe, the sign-up box on the right sidebar (desktop version). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the ancestral lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small action to hopefully repair and work to be in more justice based relations.

How to Work with Your Racial Equity Consultant

Picture of a boat hull aimed at a serene skyline with palm trees at sunset. Photo by Guduru Ajay bhargav on Pexels.com

Last week I updated/added to an old post about thing to think about as you hire a racial equity trainer. Heidi and CiKeithia, consultants from Equity Matters, shared additional thoughts which will hopefully help you and your organizations as you start or continue with racial equity work in your organization.

What will you stop doing?

Many organizations are really good at doing more. We’re trained for it, we see a need and we jump in and do it. We may even say we’ve got new money and we can hire new staff to do the new shiny thing. But at some point we’ll hit a saturation point or we’ll have mission drift (although racial equity work is never mission drift). Karen P., one of my favorite nonprofit professors in grad school, used the analogy of ice cream scoops – you can keep adding on but at some point if you add to many flavors you’ll end up with ice cream sludge in the bottom of the bowl.

If your organization is committed to racial equity work, Heidi asks – “what will you stop doing or do less of?” She doesn’t buy the answer of “we’re diversifying,” or other fluffy actions. In a boat or ship reference if you keep adding things without taking something off, eventually your ship will sink. As the captain of your ship/organization your job is to continually ‘right size’ the work and keep only essential things to moving the organization ahead.

Another way to think about this, is what will you ask staff to stop doing so they can commit to learning and shifting behaviors to do more of? Staff won’t magically have more time once they start this work, so some things need to stop to have new things happen. As an example, a few years ago my organization did a huge family engagement survey with several schools. When the principal of an elementary school saw how his families of color, especially non-English speaking families, preferred communications methods he had an ‘ah ha’ moment. The families said they prefer in-person (pre-COVID) or telephone calls. This principal stopping having his bilingual staff translating a written flier and instead asked them to spend the hour they would have spent translating material to instead make 10 calls. He had the same amount of staff time but re-deployed it in a way that met a racialized need and help to achieve more equitable outcomes.

Are you ready to take care of and invest in your POC staff?

POC staff are not the same as your white staff members. This may seem like a ‘duh’ statement, but it is worth saying out loud. POCs are not the same, are never treated the same as white people, and are not white.

Starting racial equity work can feel like both a burden and a relief for POC staff members, and it can feel like both at the same time. Many times, it is POC staff that push really hard for leaders and organizations to see the need for racial equity work. The pushing, identifying, calling in and calling out of organizational transgressions, microaggressions, or racism is often emotional and sometimes comes at a professional cost (e.g. being labeled as angry, not seen as a team player, called difficult to work with, etc.) to POC staff. It is taxing work and many times POCs are not given the authority or power to create the changes needed on their own which is emotionally draining.

Recognize your POC staff may have different needs or wants around racial equity trainings is important. I know of several Black and Indigenous friends and colleagues who decline to participate in their organization’s racial equity trainings. They don’t want to put themselves through the emotional experience of listening to their white colleagues learn about race. It is also important to recognize that POCs also need to learn about race, but they may want to do it outside of the organization in spaces that are healing or designed for POCs, especially Black and Indigenous people. This is where equal is not equitable (borrowing the phrase from Heidi), white staff should not be allowed to opt-out just because they are uncomfortable learning in the group.

If your POC staff do want to take leadership roles in the work, invest in their leadership. This means providing compensation, reassignment of other work so they can take this on, giving credit where it is due, and trusting their leadership. In CiKeithia’s words “Stop relying on the few BIPOC staff to be your unpaid consultant, it’s just wrong.”

Finally, Trust

Heidi and CiKeithia’s shared advice is to trust. Do you trust your consultant? If you don’t trust your consultant to work with you and steer you on the right path, then you don’t have the right consultant. Consultants work best when they can build a relationship with you and you trust them to get the work right. If you’re constantly nit-picking or questioning what they are doing then it isn’t a good relationship for either side.

In another boating or yachting reference – would you get on a boat if you didn’t know where it is going? No, you wouldn’t let the Captain of the boat leave port and take you into the Pacific or Atlantic ocean without a sense of where you’re going – that ocean is big and scary. You most likely would want to see an itinerary, have a sense of how many times the Captain or navigator has taken this route, do they understand where the rough waters are, how well do they know their boat and navigation tools. The same goes for working with a consultant, get a sense of what they know and how they plan on working with you. Once you hire them trust them. Trust their experience and work with them, not against them, it is a relationship that needs to feed each other.

When you can build trust with them the work will be better and hopefully that trust radiates out to others in the organization and community.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back end cost, research cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Adrienne, AE, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barrett, Becky, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S., Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, Don, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Elizabeth, Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, Francis, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jaime, Jake, JelenaJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie B., Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kimberly, Krissy, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sarah B., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan U., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tracy T.G.,Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

If you subscribe to the blog, thank you. Please check fakequity.com for the most up to date version of the post. We often make grammatical and stylistic corrections after the first publishing which shows up in your inbox. Please subscribe, the sign-up box on the right sidebar (desktop version). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the ancestral lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small action to hopefully repair and work to be in more justice based relations.

How to Hire a Racial Equity Consultant – Updated

Photo by penguin and a red boat Pixabay on Pexels.com

Several years ago, I wrote a blog post about how to hire a racial equity consultant. It is time to update and add more to that first post, especially since many organizations are continuing to bring in consultants to help them with their racial equity work.

Have a purpose, vision, and reason for your racial equity work

Be clear about what you want to do with your ‘equity’ work and be honest about your starting place. Before you even think about calling a consultant to see if they will work with you, spend some time soul searching why your organization wants to undertake racial equity work. This purpose and vision is important to figuring out who you want to work with and why. The answer can’t be “because everyone else is doing it,” “it will look good to a funder,” “we’re all white so it seems like the woke thing to do,” those may be honest to yourself answers, but if they are your reason for wanting to bring in a consultant, save your organization the time and start by doing some self-education (e.g. reading books, attending public lectures, practice listening, etc.). This will help you understand why you want to undertake racial equity work.

Heidi, Principal/Founder of Equity Matters, tells her clients her role as a consultant is to help with the process of learning and discovery, but as a consultant she will leave at some point and there needs to be internal champions and leaders ready to pick up the work. This is why she wants her clients to have a purpose and vision for their racial equity journey. Articulating the vision and purpose will help both the client and consultant have clearer understanding and set up the organization for longer term success.

She’s also listening for what is the world you want to see, not anti-[fill in the blank]. Anti-racism has become a catch-all phrase for light racial equity work – learning, listening, but not changing beliefs, policies, practices, etc. Saying what you want the world to be is a more meaningful purpose statement and one you can work on together.

Is your Organization Ready

A few months ago, I had a conversation with an organization I was about to do a training with around family engagement. In our prep conversation I asked how much their staff understood about race. The organization said their staff understood race because they were majority POC, worked in POC communities, etc. During the presentation it became clear the staff, while POC, didn’t understand the basics of racial equity. I did a quick pivot in my presentation to talk about the basics of race so we could move forward together. Just being POC doesn’t mean people understand race and racial equity.

Many racial equity trainers can also talk about how they have walked into organizations and met open hostility to their being there. One friend told me about how a white male in her training crossed out the word equity and wrote in Trump. Many other friends have told me how they are openly challenged during trainings, by both POCs (who want to test the consultant and flaunt their POC-ness) and white people. If the staff of your organization isn’t fully on board you owe it to the consultant to be honest with them.

If your staff will be openly hostile, you need to do some housekeeping before bringing in a consultant. Brining in a racial equity consultant to ‘fix’ personnel problems around race isn’t the answer. Racial equity consultants do not want to deal with your problem employees or be treated rudely, harassed, or abused by staff. If you witness your staff harass or bully a consultant, especially consultants of color, it is your job to step in and speak up. As staff, especially white leaders, it is your job to set the tone and model how others will be treated. Don’t think that the consultant has to prove themselves or spend their time dealing with your problematic staff, that isn’t their job as a consultant. As CiKeithia, also with Equity Matters, said no contract is worth taking abuse.

Be Ready to Clean up

Racial equity consultants will leave at some point. They are not the captains of the plan or part of the staff, they are there to help guide you until it is time to part ways. A friend told me about how much work the leaders of her organization did after the organization started racial equity work. The consultant helped them put together a plan and when it was time to execute the CEO had some hard work ahead of him. He had to re-organize the staff, work with the board and other volunteers, make changes to programs, etc. This organization and leader re-organized out several staff people who clearly were not on-board with the new racial equity focused direction of the organization. My friend was relieved the changes were made and is now willing to stay with the organization because the boss made changes in-line with the new vision and is executing on the racial equity plans.

Another Word on RFPs

As I wrote in the first “How to and How not to hire a Racial Equity Consultant” post, many of my favorite and go-to consultants will not bid on RFPs. It isn’t worth their time, especially when they are turning away clients, as many of the experienced and senior consultants are.

If you are in a place that requires you to have an RFP process (government – really the only ones legally required to), remove as many barriers as possible and slim down the process. Remember you want to make this attractive to bid on. Many of the experienced consultants will pass if they thing it is too much work to bid, which means the bids you do get will not be the best people out there.

Nonprofits and other organizations do not need an RFP process. CiKeithia said “Remember I’m interviewing you the same as you are interviewing me,” as a consultant she wants to look for a partnership with an organization.

Thank you to Heidi and CiKeithia for sharing their thoughts. They shared a lot more wisdom which I will share in a future post. I owe you both beverages and some ‘talk-story’ time.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back end cost, research cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Adrienne, AE, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barrett, Becky, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S., Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, Don, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Elizabeth, Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, Francis, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jaime, Jake, JelenaJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie B., Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kimberly, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sarah B., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan U., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tracy T.G.,Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

If you subscribe to the blog, thank you. Please check fakequity.com for the most up to date version of the post. We often make grammatical and stylistic corrections after the first publishing which shows up in your inbox. Please subscribe, the sign-up box on the right sidebar (desktop version). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the ancestral lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small action to hopefully repair and work to be in more justice based relations.

Excuses to not go to gatherings

Picture of a red panda yawning on a log. Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

Editor’s note — 75% sure no blog post next week. I want to enjoy summer a bit and will probably take the week off from writing.


As we start to emerge from their COVID hibernations we’re going to need some excuses to get out of meetings we don’t want to attend or just to hold onto the joy of not being around others. Here are some prompts to choose from so you don’t have to lie and say “Can’t, I’m getting my third COVID vaccination dose,” that is just ethically wrong so don’t use that as your excuse. Instead, choose one line from each category to string together your excuse.

[Legal and moral stuff: Fakequity does not condone lying. Honesty, truth, and all of those good moral behaviors are better than coming up with fake excuses.]

Intro/First Part

I can’t because

I need to

I am out of

Mandatory…

I need to KonMari

The blogger at Nonprofit AF said (Hi to our blogger friend Vu. Check out his blog archives if you haven’t read it lately.)

Choose an accomplicate or scapegoat

Best friend

Karen

Becky

Brad

Harvard professor

My neighbor with the Black Lives Matter sign

My goat

Choose a Reason

Needs to catch up on listening to the NPR Code Switch podcast.

Needs to start and finish the President Barack Obama’s A Promised Land audiobook, just 30 hrs of listening.

Rewrite a grant to remove passive racist savior language.

Go through all of my books and DVDs to find the Harry Potter, Little House on the Prairie, and other authors who are no longer relevant because or their views.

Distribute the toilet paper I hoarded during COVID. (In seriousness, if you do have extra toilet paper consider donating it to a food bank, they will get it to people who would appreciate it.)

Get people out to vote, cause the opponent is a racist asshole who believes critical race theory is a hoax.

Empty out my purse or car, cause it has too much stuff – pens, voter stickers, umbrella leftover from a protest, Sharpie from fixing racist signs, seeds to plant in community gardens, extra books by authors of color to leave in Little Free Libraries, sunscreen from canvassing for candidates.

Go to the store/pick up my online order of lemons to give to my [choose from above], their face needs more pucker.

Needs to evolve into my/their better anti-racist self.

Tell my boss to include a salary range on nonprofit job descriptions.

Watch all the Korean dramas before they leave Netflix.

Delete my old-me unwoke Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram posts.

Create an Instagram post of my social justice street art.

Can’t deal with racist people tonight.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back end cost, research cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Adrienne, AE, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barrett, Becky, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S., Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, Don, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Elizabeth, Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, Francis, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jaime, Jake, JelenaJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie B., Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kimberly, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sarah B., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan U., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

If you subscribe to the blog, thank you. Please check fakequity.com for the most up to date version of the post. We often make grammatical and stylistic corrections after the first publishing which shows up in your inbox. Please subscribe, the sign-up box on the right sidebar (desktop version). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the ancestral lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small action to hopefully repair and work to be in more justice based relations.

Relational vs Transactional

Artwork from Amplifer Art by Nicolas Lampert. Text: Our People Have the Solutions. Black and white picture of a man holding forward a square potted green plant.

One of the ways I try to use the Fakequity blog is to demystify or explain racial equity jargon. I remember when I was a newbie sitting in trainings and people would say something that made sense to 95% of the room and would move on. Jargon and insider phrases are a way to keep an inside game, inside – a form of power and to create a club. Hopefully Fakequity is helping to cudgel some of that jargon.

The terms relational and transactional are somewhat self-explanatory based on their definitions, but I still consider them jargony. When we understand terms, we can identify behaviors and change them for the better – which is at the heart of racial equity work.

Transactional

Let’s start with the more detrimental of the two terms. Transactional means to treat people as a transaction – something to do, something to accomplish, a checkbox sort of activity. Transactions are ways of treating people as something that needs to be done versus something connecting to someone. We don’t create a sense of belonging in transactions.

Transactions can have elements of relationship building, but they may still not be relational. As an example, as parents we often receive emails or other communications from programs or schools with instructions. These emails are important, but they aren’t meant to build relationships, they are meant to convey information – a transaction. I know as a parent I look for these since they help to keep programs running smoothly and often have helpful info. On the school end these tools are a great way to share information with large groups in a timely manner. Yet these types of communications are transactional and are not a substitute for building relationship with families on their terms.

If all our interactions with programs and schools are reduced to transactions, we have little incentive to personally invest in the school or program. If we’re not invested it is harder to push programs to do better and to expose blind spots, share information, and ultimately bring about change.

Transactional interactions can also be power-plays. Such as hoarding and holding information and only sharing what they want, not inviting input or considering new information. “I have information you need and I’ll tell you what you need to know.” If we racialize this line of thinking, how often has a privileged group had access to enrollment or other information and shared that information in relational ways (e.g. person to person, through social networks, etc.), yet Black and Brown communities were only given the transactional information – a notice buried in an email and no personal interaction?

Relational and Relationship Building

Relational ways of interacting are how we make change. It humanizes each other and can lead to deeper social change. Relational work means investing more of ourselves into the work and personalizing the work, which can feel taxing at times but in the long haul it leads to deeper and more impactful work.

As humans we need to create connections with each other to build trust, iterate off of each other’s ideas, and to connect. The trust that comes with relationships allows us to probe more deeply and to make changes that improve services and programs. As an example, one of my work partners does amazing work with the Cantonese speaking community. Many of the parents she works with are accustomed to the schools treating their interactions as transactions – read a translated flier, answer pre-selected questions, etc. Yet, when I watch my partner interact with her families in their native language and building on the trust she developed with them I can see the families flourish. They share so much more information and they ask for what they need vs sitting and accepting what they are given. This may sound scary for people who now have to deal with new needs, but if we listen carefully the families are often also offering solutions.

When working in relationship with each other, we create a feeling of belonging — accountability to each other, even if it is through brief interactions. We see each other. Relationships built on listening, trust building, longevity and openness will flourish more than interactions that are one-of or one-sided. Relationships over transactions.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back end cost, research cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Adrienne, AE, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barrett, Becky, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S., Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, Don, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Elizabeth, Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, Francis, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jaime, Jake, JelenaJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie B., Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kimberly, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sarah B., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan U., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

If you subscribe to the blog, thank you. Please check fakequity.com for the most up to date version of the post. We often make grammatical and stylistic corrections after the first publishing which shows up in your inbox. Please subscribe, the sign-up box on the right sidebar (desktop version). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the ancestral lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small action to hopefully repair and work to be in more justice based relations.

Family Engagement – How do you greet people?

As we reemerge into real person life, and our kids return to schools, summer camps, and programs we need to brush up on our family engagement mindset and beliefs in people.

How will we greet families, will you greet them all, will process and procedures be the first glimpse families have of your program and school or a warm welcome? All of this with the backdrop of COVID precautions still going on.

Logistics and Parking

One of my kids is in an in-person summer program. This is our first time using the program and while it is close to our house the program is very outside of my social or professional circle. The program is heavily sought after, organized, and responsive. Yet my first interaction with them in person was less than positive.

During the first day of drop-off I walked my kid to the designated drop off area and was warmly greeted and that went smoothly. Pickup was another story. During pickup cars were queued and waiting in long lines. As I was waiting, I saw the program director had come out to direct traffic. I had walked over and was waiting on the sidewalk. I recognized the program director from the Zoom orientation held a week before. He greeted a white parent by saying hello, then when he saw me, he asked if I belonged in any of the cars—implying if I had left my car I needed to get back to it, kinda being scolded without being scolded. It was an innocent remark, but it got me thinking – this was my first interaction with him, he didn’t bother to greet me or welcome me into their community, and everything with this program so far has been transactional. This program has also gentrified and continues to gentrify the neighborhood. I wanted more and I feel my community deserves more than being treated as a commodity, a piece of land for their program, and we’re only welcomed when we follow parking rules.

Family Engagement

As we return to post-COVID life (or even continuing COVID life) we need to revisit family engagement beliefs and strategies.

During pre-COVID times many schools and programs had worked hard to build practices of welcoming families in to visit their programs and build trusting relationships. Our elementary school teachers would make a point of inviting families in for class writing celebrations, allowing for a small window into the class. Programs welcomed families to join in by volunteering in different ways – bringing snacks, joining field trips, etc. Many of these known ways building relationships are no longer available while we still practice COVID safety precautions. But this doesn’t mean family engagement can stop.

For many of our communities of color trusting institutions (i.e. schools, government, etc.) to do right by our kids doesn’t come easily. Historically there have been many systemic ways schools and governments, and institutions (churches, nonprofits, etc.) have brought harm.* The historical trauma and systemic racism is still there and when not attended to can lead to a lot of mistrust, especially when the messages are – you can’t enter the building (even because of COVID), communicate with us but only in this way, support networks are not allowed into the institution, etc.

In a survey the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition conducted right before COVID lockdowns, they found families of color preferred in-person and telephone communication more than email. When we asked why, the families of color said it allowed them to build relationships with teachers and staff, the communication was more likely in their home language, and they could check for understanding. Email communication didn’t allow for this and they said it was a one-way passing of information.

We need to find new ways to stay connected and engaged with families that is mutually beneficial. Positive communication to families that is personal and warm is important. What if instead of my first interaction with the program director hadn’t been asking if I was mistakenly outside of my car, but a greeting of “Hi, so glad you’re here. What is your student’s name? I hope they had a great first day. Call me if you need anything.” That sort of warm reception would have stuck.

Not Commodities or Transactions

We need to stop treating family engagement as a transaction or commodity, something we can say we did versus a belief system. Programs need to value people and their human interactions, especially building strong relationships with our Black and Brown families. As we return to an abnormal normal, we must prioritize family engagement with our poc communities. Trust is fragile, leaders at all levels need to work to build and maintain trust with families. My friend Amber Banks, PhD, is a brilliant researcher and consultant on trust building. One of her lessons to me is trust needs to be active and practiced.

One of the ways we can practice trust building is seeing people as people, and not as commodities (e.g. tuition, kids in seats, cars waiting for pickup, etc.) or transactions (e.g. I called this many families this week, I said hello to ten families, etc.). Another lesson Amber recent reminded me is Black families (and poc families) want to be listened to. Our job now coming out of COVID is to really listen and to find ways to deeply interact (even with COVID precautions) with our families of color. Early on in COVID many of us realized we don’t want to go back to the old normal, maybe this is one place where we can develop new and better ways of being together post-COVID.

*Out of respect for my POC relations I won’t delve deeply into the examples of how schools and institutions have harmed POCs. If you need some examples research: the school to prison pipeline, Native/Indigenous boarding schools, abuses by churches, and there are many other examples.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back end cost, research cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Adrienne, AE, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barrett, Becky, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S., Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, Don, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Elizabeth, Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, Francis, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jaime, Jake, JelenaJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie B., Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kimberly, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sarah B., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan U., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

If you subscribe to the blog, thank you. Please check fakequity.com for the most up to date version of the post. We often make grammatical and stylistic corrections after the first publishing which shows up in your inbox. Please subscribe, the sign-up box on the right sidebar (desktop version). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the ancestral lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small action to hopefully repair and work to be in more justice based relations.