After the presidential election that allowed Trump into office Heidi and I had a conversation about what does racial equity transformation look like. Sitting in a Mexican restaurant in Beacon Hill (Seattle) she explained how we need to stop tinkering around with little changes and strive for transformational change. As I munched on my cactus and cheese dish I told her I was at a loss for what transformative change would look like in the racial equity work I do. I spend so much time fighting for smaller changes there isn’t a lot of brain space left to dream bigger and figure out what racial equity transformation looks like.
Tonight I was reminded of this conversation as I listened to Washington State Senator Rebecca Saldaña at the Rainier Valley Corps (RVC) graduation. Senator Saldaña reminded us about the need to aim for transformation in our work. As I listened I remembered the conversation I had with Heidi.
What is Transformation
Transformation in racial equity work is f-ing hard. Like I said earlier so much of my work isn’t in the transformative space, I’m doing things to hold the line on bad policies, working on inclusion and improving access, or doing things to just get by. These actions are important, but they aren’t transformative.
Transformative work focuses and centers on what communities of color and the most marginalized need to thrive. Transformative work requires us to be creative and to think boldly and to have the audacity to try new actions.
How to get to Transformation
At the RVC graduation tonight I was reminded about what transformation could look like:
- Transformation means honoring the past, acknowledging root causes of racism.
- Focusing on and centering our work on communities of color.
- Sharing control and focusing on who is comfortable, no one group should be unfairly burdened, we all take turns.
- Transformation creates a sense of shared belonging.
- Investing in communities of color.
- Cultivating leadership from the ground up.
- Thinking beyond one’s self and also beyond our own affinity groups. Transformation means we acknowledge and work to understand everyone’s shared experiences.
There is a lot more to say about transformation and maybe you have some ideas. Feel free to drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. At a later time, I’ll write more about transformation. This week’s post is purposefully short. It has been a great week with some celebrations and a lot of work, so it is off to bed I go. See you all next week.
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