Racial Equity and Inclusion (REI)

Race equity and inclusion (REI) is centered on the foundational work necessary to understanding and addressing systemic racism to create a more equitable system for marginalized individuals, children, and families. REI encompasses a broad range of activities that lead individuals within systems through the transformative process of surfacing racialized knowledge and ideologies and engaging in data-driven inquiry to uncover systemic inequities. The end goal is to create teachable and knowledgeable learning communities that reform the system from the inside out.

 

Coaching Program

Equity coaching is a powerful and promising tool to help systems actualize racial justice goals and institutionalize racial justice within and across the organization. “Equity coaching for leadership supports people to:  Unpack organizational culture, systems and practices, strategize together how to make needed adjustments and navigate nuanced interpersonal relationships in leadership and management roles within the organization” (Partners for Collaborative Change, 2020).  Moreover, at the individual level, equity coaching offers opportunities for deep reflection, re-remembering, and a way to take action against racial oppression.

In 2019, 40 Office of Early Learning professionals participated in a 4-day Racial Equity Learning ExchangeSM (RELE) training and 2 follow-up webinars with Khatib Waheed and Corey Best.  Additionally, 211 stakeholders attended 2 webinars provided by racial equity and childcare experts.  Building on this work in 2020, the Institute hired consultants to provide intensive coaching to 17 early learning leadership teams. Equity coaching is a powerful and promising tool to help organizations actualize racial justice goals and institutionalize racial justice within and across the organization. “Equity coaching for leadership supports people to: Unpack organizational culture, systems and practices, strategize together how to make needed adjustments and navigate nuanced interpersonal relationships in leadership and management roles within the organization” (Partners for Collaborative Change, 2020). Moreover, at the individual level, equity coaching offers opportunities for deep reflection, re-remembering, and a way to take action against racial oppression. At the organization level, the goal of the equity coaching is to increase statewide diversity, and equity and inclusion awareness through a process where organizations create structures for their work that allow for accountability and responsibility outside of the limits of their present organizational roles and relationships. 

Several tools will assist in the provision of these coaching efforts. The Race Equity Cross Walk by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Government Alliance on Race and Equity’s Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) and the Racial Equity Tool Kit will be utilized. Chiefly, the REIA, which is the systematic examination of how traditionally oppressed racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision, will be applied. Using an equity lens, the consultants and the 17 early learning leadership teams will co-create an implementation plan. Based on the REIA findings, there will be a focus on revising internal policies and procedures to identify gaps in service, lack of collaboration with other agencies, and obstruction for a fair and equitable delivery of services.  The consultants and the Institute will collect data, document the advances, challenges, and barriers, and evaluate outcomes through 2022.  

Mr. Waheed will return for eight days to certify 15 selected Office of Early Learning coaches who attended the 2019 4-day Institute, in the RELE training. 

 

Learning about Micro Aggressions 

The Institute is committed to investing in racial equity research and educating our stakeholders about how to make their organizations more inclusive and strive to greater racial equity. To this end, in the fall of 2020, the Institute engaged Dr. Shanna Katz Kattari, at the University of Michigan, to conduct two webinars on microaggressions. Microaggressions are defined as the everyday, subtle, intentional—and oftentimes unintentional—interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups. The difference between microaggressions and overt discrimination or macroaggressions, is that people who commit microaggressions might not even be aware of them. 

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