2015 Fakequity Wrap-Up, 2016 Resolutions (or at least until Lunar New Year) & A few Predictions

It is the end of 2015 and this is a good time to reflect on the good, the fake, and come up for resolutions for the new year. For fun maybe I’ll add a few predictions.

The Good
All of you! I’m grateful for all of you who are practicing calling out fakequity and living a fakequity-free life.

Grateful for movements that continue to highlight the need for work around racial equity. The hard work that many of you are doing is making a difference and advancing racial equity. We all have our roles and together we are making a difference.

Grateful for silence. I’ve been reading Silence, The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise by Thich Nhat Hanh. He shares this thought: Realize that silence comes from the heart, and not from the absence of talk.This past year I’ve been trying to listen more and talk less. Silence allows for listening and deeper thinking, which is necessary for fakequity busting.

Another good thing is investments made into equity work. More foundations, policy makers, and others are beginning to understand why race matters in ending inequities and achievement and opportunity gaps. I recently heard about a small foundation that has decided to spend-down and invest all of their funds into African American efforts. This bold commitment happened because of the #BlackLivesMatter and other movement efforts.

The Fake
Donald Trump. We need to worry about loud and noisy people like Trump. For a moment I thought if I ignored him he would go away, like the Ms. Universe crown—one moment you have it, the next someone takes it away. No one has silenced him yet and the longer he blathers on the more people he’s reaching. Now we have to get loud and out shout him.

Every time and ‘equity bomb’ is dropped I get another grey hair. I’m looking older and older with every equity bomb lobbed.

Dividing and wedge issues. A colleague and I were talking about how communities of color need to create a space so we can work out our crap. We need to come together so we can work out our differences and not let others divide or split communities apart. Recently the Seattle Asian American community protested at a hooka bar in the International District where Donnie Chin, a beloved member of the community died after being caught in crossfire. The Mayor and others ran with the idea and tried to close all of the hooka bars, thus pitting the Asian community against immigrant Africans, which was never the intention of the Asian community. The question should have been why aren’t there stronger law enforcement, community building, and other efforts to keep everyone safe, not what is needed to target closing a line of immigrant owned businesses. People of color will become the majority in a few years, we need to stand together and not let others divide us.
Resolutions for 2016 (or at least until Lunar New Year when I realized I failed and get a do-over)
Live up to these two fortune cookie fortunes: “Stand up for what you believe in even if it’s not popular,” and “Don’t let others stop you from doing what you know is right.” I got these at dim sum lunch today. Umm, yes I ate two cookies… Resolutions two – find the gym, workout, and practice self-restraint.

Go to bed by 10.00 p.m. and wake up early to sit in silence. Probably won’t happen, since I’m writing at 10.50 and wide awake, but resolutions can be aspirational. If I go to bed by 10.00 I’ll wake up refreshed and ready to fight fakequity.

Build a new relationship with someone who scares me. There are a lot of people who I sort of ignore because they scare me. Some of their scare has to do with power, positions, or I’m intimidated, but a lot of that has to do with the stuff in my head, not reality. Building relationships is important to working towards equity. When we know each other well we can personalize and humanize our work which is important to pushing for change.

I resolve to ask better questions and read more work by authors of color. The art of asking questions is a hard one to master, but asking questions is critical to digging to the core of what is holding us back from achieving equity. Reading works by authors of color will give me different perspectives to understand and begin to ask better questions.

The word ‘centering’ will become the new buzzword. Heidi and I had a long email discussion about centering, hopefully we’ll get around to writing that blog post. We’ll start to see Centering Committees in the next decade, then we’ll need to coin a new term “off-center-quity.”

We will see a rise in hyper-local efforts, and they will begin to get more attention. Already cities and municipal efforts are gaining attention for their ability to nimbly respond to changing demographics.

The tide is beginning to shift on dis-aggregated data. Data analyst and organizations are beginning to embed these practices into their everyday work. The next challenge is to look at how language and immigrant/refugee experiences can be pulled out from data. Lots to delve into around this idea, maybe we’ll explore it more in 2016.

Donald Trump will flame out and end up on Dancing With the Stars.

See you in 2016! Here’s to another year of fighting Fakequity.

Posted by Erin, picture by Erin Okuno

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