By Erin Okuno
This week I give you Community Engagement BINGO. Community engagement is one of the many ways we can get closer to achieving racial equity, and yet there are so many ways it can go wrong. The terms on the BINGO cards offer some clues and ideas of what not to do. I’ve also listed them as a list below to make it easier to read through and to support accessibility of screen readers.
I hope the BINGO card sparks conversations with you and your teams. You can think and talk about why terms listed and how your organization either works to avoid them or maybe needs to break out of that process.
List of terms:
- Host listening sessions with no follow-up
- Engagement is a process check, something to check off the list
- One-time community engagement
- Expecting those most impacted to do the recruitment
- Thinking community engagement is all in-person large events
- Community engagement with stakeholders they already hear from
- Using only online surveys for community engagement
- Don’t share/report back the findings #extraction
- Engagement only in English, filled with acronyms, etc.
- Task forces used as the only means of engagement
- No trust is built between community and organization
- Agenda and the design of meetings/engagement is controlled by the power holders not the community
- Data from the engagement isn’t used or followed through
- Public testimony is considered “engagement”
- Community engagement is inaccessible to the communities most impacted – location/time/cost
- New community members are not welcomed into the engagement / Echo-chamber
- Beauty Contest engagement – the pretty and popular ideas are the only ones featured
- Those giving ideas are not recognized as the originators of the ideas #extraction
- Community engagement to get the community to “buy into” idea
- Engaging people only when you need something (e.g. crisis, potential backlash, etc.)
- Allowing only the dominant voices to be heard
- Using a token few to represent all poc or racial groups perspectives
- Talking at and to people for the entire engagement period
- Engagement with special interest groups and no one else
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