A letter to my friends and colleagues in the struggle and the unfolding of it all…

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I have been reflecting about the current social, political landscape and the long road to justice that lays in front, behind, all around us- and the work that calls our names. Given the times, it has been tempting for me to resign myself to cynicism, depression, rage, or simply to numb myself out from it all.  I have been in a deep reflection on what it means to find hope in hopeless times. I’ve had to keep reminding myself that our generation’s story is not doomed to be a mere repeat of the last generation’s story, and the one before and the one before, and….

My work over this year directly and indirectly with so many people committed to racial and social justice has begun to nurture a response to these reflections. Taking a pause in reflection is helping me understand what I need to anchor into if I am going to sustain in this work, and what we are going to need to hold on to, if we are going to dismantle what has been constructed to oppress us.    

Over the last month I worked with 45 educators into the evening who were committed to understanding how to better partner, include, and empower the diverse families who have entrusted them and our education system with their children’s academic growth as well as their physical and social/emotional well being. Through the whole session these educators engaged in real conversations that surfaced the ways in which our education system has underserved and excluded families, and more importantly these educators began to reflect upon new ways of being, new ways of educating, new ways of collectively coming together to create a more inclusive school experiences for children and their families.  One small group of educators chipping away.

Over the last month a small work group working within a prominent local business continued what has been a year long engagement, focused on building a new organizational identity. An identity that is rebuttal of the exclusion, oppression, and exploitation that sits at the foundation of all of our institutions. They are pushing each other and the rest of their organization to name and live into a new more inclusive and equitable organization identity, to create an organization in which everyone is included, everyone is valued, where everyone has what they need to thrive. One small group in our business sector chipping away.

Over the last month I presented with a brilliant judge and passionate and driven lawyer to a group of 70 lawyers on the concept of structural racism and the central role it has played in our legal system. Together hitting at the core of injustice and the oppression this country was founded upon.  One group at a time, one space at a time. Chipping away.

Over the last month I have seen individuals unpacking their racial identity, unpacking privilege and unpacking the way in which they have internalized racial oppression. Over the last month I have heard stories of parents having more conscious conversations with their children, I have heard stories of individuals having the tough and authentic conversation about race, intersectionality, and social justice that are essential for progress to be made. I have witnessed individuals from communities of color representing their community with dignity, grace, integrity. I have witnessed people stepping out their box and into their potential. Individuals courageously exercising their voice, doing everything they can to gain valuable ground back in the spaces that they occupy. Every single day, individuals chipping away.

I could go on and on about what I have seen, been a part of or been inspired by just in the last month. So many people, so many groups, so much conviction, such a commitment to waking up from what Ta-Nehisi Coates so aptly named the “dream”, and what is experienced by so many as a nightmare. People in so many spaces, in so many ways waking up and working tirelessly to put consciousness into action. Chipping away.

These small steps forward are not nearly as inspiring to me as the commitment, strength and courage that have fueled those steps. The commitment held to every space, to every person, to each moment being our best, filled with our highest selves. It is the strength to do what is needed to ensure every space is rethinking the foundation it sits on, the strength to recreate something new within ourselves, as well as within the spaces we occupy. It is the courage to act differently, the courage to prioritize truth over comfort. Chipping away, chipping away, chipping away. And moving forward.

Now I want to be clear. The aforementioned is not an endorsement of, nor is it intended to perpetuate that favorite white American past time: The celebration, centering, and overall idealization of incrementalism. Rather it is a reality check, an acknowledgement of what we need to hold onto while living in institutions, a society, a country, a world, in which racism and its intersectional web is permanent. It is resisting the paralysis, hopelessness, and feelings of resignation that white supremacy tempts us to sit in, live in, and eventually die of. It is digging deep into faith, holding that “hope” is more than a word, it is a belief in Dr. King’s words, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice” and an understanding that nothing bends on its own. That we must collectively take responsibility for bending that arc. It is the understanding that we can only dismantle our oppressive foundation collectively, and that collective action starts with you, with me, with us, moment to moment through our every-day interactions and actions. It is staying engaged, listening well, speaking our truth; it is finding balance and taking care of ourselves, it is building and rebuilding community, it is acknowledging that there is work to do within the spaces we operate in, it is exercising our individual and collective agency-in the name of justice- in those spaces.  It is holding on to the idea that these actions can not be measured as big or small rather we must simply acknowledge that individually and in sum, they matter, that they really matter.

I am not fooled by any grandiose imagery my ego can present to me about our work; Nor am I waiting for our government to decide to abstain from the racial diet upon which it has sustained and gorged itself. I have always believed that real change happens not because of an amazing speech or some significant event where an individual gets to shine, nor will it be found in some big government action. I have been reminded again and again, that change happens because people, like yourselves, are willing to fight and push, and challenge, and resist, and walk a very long walk. More than ever, I am anchored in the step by step, the unseen actions, the grind, the chipping away, the moments of transformation. I think it is our willingness to grind that positions us to make lasting change.  Our willingness to step by step do what it takes to fill each moment with passion, commitment, healing, hope, listening and validation. It has been in these “small” moments with you all where I have found inspiration, the only place where I have found hope, the only place where I have found progress. It is in these moments of being in solidarity in which I am recognizing the path forward and more importantly the path out.  It is in these moments with you that I have felt white supremacy losing its grip and possibility taking hold.  

We are engaged in the most important work in the most critical time of our generation.  Given this reality, it is important I think to anchor into the idea that our individual and collective contributions matter. That the work must be located in large part, in our spaces of influence whether that is our family spaces, our work spaces, our friend spaces, our community spaces; we must take whatever steps necessary to restructure those spaces, build a new foundation upon which those spaces reside. Step by step we must chip away and recreate our spaces. It is important to not underestimate the impact of each step, the power of chipping away, that our individual efforts add up, in fact they actually multiply. It is important to remember that you are part of a movement-one that is picking up force. That you, your grit, your heart, your commitment, your strength, your actions,- everything that you are- that we are, truly matters; and given the task at hand, is needed more than ever. 

Chip away, chip away, chip away. Keep chipping away.

H.

Author: Hanif Fazal, CEO and co-founder of the Center for Equity and Inclusion

Twitter: @HanifFazalPDX

 

2018 Spots are Open!

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Back in 2018!

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn from CEI facilitators in either a weekday or weekend intensive of Reframing Racism:

Friday – Sunday, February 2-4, 2018 OR Wednesday – Friday, February 7-9, 2018.  

(each with three follow-up sessions – see below)

Registration is open and people are signing up!  There is no better time than right now to join this conversation.

A transformative workshop designed to increase racially consciousness and develop more culturally competent individuals who understand how racism operates and what we can do about it.

During this training series, participants will: This training series will include:
  • Explore how race was constructed
  • Build a racial vocabulary
  • Analyze current events
  • Practice communicating cross-culturally
  • Make a plan for advancing equity
  • Facilitated dialogue and discussion
  • Experiential activities
  • Assigned readings and viewings
  • Planning sessions
  • Personal leadership

Secure spot with a $175 deposit.  

CEI will gladly issue PDUs via CEI certificate for educators.  Participants must work with district and TSPC to verify acceptance.

Schedule:

Weekend: 

  • February 2-4 : Friday (5-9pm), Saturday (9-5pm), Sunday (9-5pm) with follow-ups occurring from 6-9pm on February 22, March 15 and March 29.

Weekday:

  • February 7-9: Wednesday (9-1pm), Thursday (9-5pm), Friday (9-5pm) with follow-ups occurring from 6-9pm on February 28, March 21 and April 4

 

Back for Fall – Reframing Racism!

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Reframing Racism workshop is back for Fall!

Choose between a weekday or weekend intensive:

Friday – Sunday, October 6-8, 2017 OR Wednesday – Friday, September 25-27, 2017.  

(each with three follow-up sessions – see below)

Registration is open!  There is no better time than right now to join this conversation.

A transformative workshop designed to increase racially consciousness and develop more culturally competent individuals who understand how racism operates and what we can do about it.

During this training series, participants will: This training series will include:
  • Explore how race was constructed
  • Build a racial vocabulary
  • Analyze current events
  • Practice communicating cross-culturally
  • Develop an equity toolkit
  • Make a plan for advancing equity
  • Facilitated dialogue and discussion
  • Experiential activities
  • Assigned readings and viewings
  • Planning sessions
  • Personal leadership

Secure spot with a $175 deposit.  All materials included.

CEI will gladly issue PDUs via CEI certificate for educators.  Participants must work with district and TSPC to verify acceptance.

Schedule:

Weekend: 

  • October 6 – 8: Friday (5-9pm), Saturday (9-5pm), Sunday (9-5pm) with follow-ups occurring from 6-9pm on October 24, November 21, and December 5.

Weekday:

  • October 25 – 27: Wednesday (9-1pm), Thursday (9-5pm), Friday (9-5pm) with follow-ups occurring from 6-9pm on November 15, November 29, and December 13

 

Database Administrator, Portland Art Museum

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Commitment to Equity

The Portland Art Museum is committed to advancing equity and inclusion by creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. We will continue learning as we work to evolve as an Institution, recognizing that this journey has no end and our commitment must remain. The Museum has an active equity team currently engaged in a year-long journey to examine our internal culture and the work we do through an equity lens. We look forward to having all colleagues join and contribute to this important work.

The Position

The Portland Art Museum invites applications for the position of Database Administrator. Data is an important asset that helps inform Institutional decisions. The Database Administrator is responsible for accurately and efficiently maintaining the integrity of the organization’s Altru database, along with managing all aspects of the database and assisting with related projects. This role is one of the key players that assists in capturing institutional knowledge to drive business needs and solve problems.

View the attachment for a complete job posting and application instructions.

Database Administrator – August 2017

A Response to Charlottesville

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In response to Charlottesville

8/14/17

We, at the Center for Equity and Inclusion extend our support and stand in solidarity with the Charlottesville community and all communities impacted by this weekend’s actions. Our hearts are heavy, witnessing the never-ending manner in which white supremacy continues to oppress communities of color (as well as other marginalized communities), dislodge white people from a collective sense of humanity and stain the consciousness and integrity of our country.

We unequivocally condemn the President’s response to the blatant racism and terrorism that the Charlottesville community, and by extension our country, experienced this weekend. The President’s response is reflective of a longstanding pattern of endorsing, participating and profiting from white supremacy. While having a racist white male president who promotes and profits from white supremacy is anything but new, our response to what we expect from the presidency and our country must not lose steam, not now. Now more than ever we must collectively work together to not just powerfully resist but also commit to creating something new; a new foundation for this country, one that has space for all of us to stand.

We believe that our collective voice matters and we must exercise that voice; whether that is voicing outrage at the constant wave of oppression that Charlottesville is representative of, or voicing our solidarity with individuals, communities, and organizations that are resisting, fighting back, and courageously making a stand.  Our voice matters.

We also believe that while voicing our solidarity matters, we must also act in solidarity.

For us at CEI that means supporting everyone we work with to look within themselves, the spaces they occupy, and their spheres of influence. To engage in an honest appraisal of themselves and unpack exactly where and how white supremacy is in operation and then to channel all of the rage, depression, frustration and hopelessness into more committed and focused actions that both deconstruct and reconstruct these spaces. So in an act of solidarity with the Charlottesville community, we are doubling down on our commitment to build more equitable and inclusive thinking, actions, and spaces. In solidarity, we are committing to looking within ourselves and intensifying our own personal development. In solidarity we are committing to pushing and challenging our partner organizations to act as urgently as ever.

AND in solidarity we are committed to breathing – as breath is life giving – and to holding and being with one another as we move collectively through our generation’s long walk.

In solidarity,

CEI Staff/Community

Portland High School Mentor, Caldera

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Commitment to Equity

Equity Caldera recently participated in a year-long equity training project. At Caldera we recognize a historic and persistent opportunity/achievement-gap between white youth and youth of color. Closing that gap while increasing opportunities for all young people is a top priority of our organization. Race must cease to be a reliable predictor of a person’s achievement and success. In order to achieve this goal we are committed to creating and fostering racial diversity at every level of the organization including but not limited to staff, youth, and leadership. With our hiring, our goal is a pool of highly qualified candidates who reflect the diversity of the youth community we serve.

About the Position

At Caldera, we believe in the power of creativity. Caldera is a catalyst for the transformation of underserved youth through innovative, year round art and environmental programs. Our Youth Program provides students from Portland and Central Oregon with long-term mentoring that nurtures individual creativity, beginning in sixth grade and continuing into young adulthood. Caldera weaves the arts, nature, and personal expression into powerful work that ignites self-expression and allows young people to be creative changes agents in their lives and communities.

This position provides direct support to high school students served by Caldera during the school day, after school, and on weekends. The ideal candidate for this position will be a skilled youth-worker with a background and passion for the arts and/or the environment. This person must have the ability to engage diverse groups and represent Caldera in our communities.

To learn more about this position, please view the document below.

Portland-High-School-Mentor-Caldera-2017-Job-Description

Part-Time Arts Center Maintenance Associate, Caldera

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Commitment to Equity

Equity Caldera recently participated in a year-long equity training project. At Caldera we recognize a historic and persistent opportunity/achievement-gap between white youth and youth of color. Closing that gap while increasing opportunities for all young people is a top priority of our organization. Race must cease to be a reliable predictor of a person’s achievement and success. In order to achieve this goal we are committed to creating and fostering racial diversity at every level of the organization including but not limited to staff, youth, and leadership. With our hiring, our goal is a pool of highly qualified candidates who reflect the diversity of the youth community we serve.

The Position

Caldera, a creative youth development organization serving Oregon youth from both urban and rural communities, is seeking a part-time Arts Center Maintenance Associate to support maintenance of our Arts Center based in Central Oregon near Sisters. Our Arts Center includes 20 buildings and is located in the Cascade Mountain Range on the shore of Blue Lake on 116 acres surrounded by the Deschutes National Forest. The Arts Center Maintenance Associate will complete regular facility maintenance and repair; work with Caldera staff to plan for and track/document for building and landscape needs and processes; work with the Arts Center Programs Manager and other leaders to identify, potentially plan and manage larger facilities-and landscape-related projects (major repairs, remodels, new construction, etc.); and attend/participate in monthly staff meetings and occasional organizational events and meetings.

To learn more about this position, please view the document below.

Arts-Center-Maintenance-Associate-Caldera-2017-Job-Description

Resident Assets Coordinator, Rose Community Development

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Commitment to Equity

ROSE Community Development was created by and for the people of outer southeast Portland when neighborhood leaders took action after decades of indifference and disinvestment. Our mission is to connect our community to build good homes, healthy families and neighborhood opportunities.

ROSE believes that social change always begins with the people most affected. Our community’s people, places and institutions have innumerable assets; ROSE’s work begins by identifying and building upon these assets. In our work, relationships have value, real change takes time and neighborhoods are the place where relationships, community values and vision turn ideas into action.

About the Position

ROSE, an affordable housing organization based in outer SE Portland, is hiring a Resident Assets Coordinator to join our team! The purpose of the Resident Assets program is to promote healthy families, successful children, resident leaders, and communities of opportunity for ROSE residents. The Resident Assets Coordinators use an asset-based community development approach to support residents of ROSE affordable housing, with an emphasis on equity and inclusion. This position is full-time (30-40 hours per week), permanent and non-exempt.

To learn more about this position, please view the document below.

RA coordinator 2017-07

Consultant, Solid Ground Consulting

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Solid Ground’s Commitment to Equity

Solid Ground Consulting wants our firm to mirror the communities we live in and serve. We are committed to creating a multicultural workplace grounded in equity and inclusion, and we are committed to continuously learning and evolving as individuals and as a firm. We are currently engaged in a year-long, transformative process to examine our internal culture and the work we do through an equity lens. We look forward to having our new colleagues join and contribute to this important work.

About Us

The team at Solid Ground Consulting – six great people here in Portland, one in Vermont and other partners around the country – is connected by a common bond:  We want to make a difference.  It’s a desire we share with people in every corner of every community.  As organizational, strategy, and leadership consultants, we’re on this planet to partner with others make a greater impact – to build greater confidence, by expand their capability, and  partnering to discover a clear pathway to achieve their goals.  Within organizations, these are not small things: They often represent transformational changes that can make all the difference in the world.

The Opportunity

Solid Ground Consulting approaches organizational development consulting through an integrated approach that organizes our work around four dimensions of organizational impact –leadership, strategy, brand and culture. We are looking to build our expertise in the Culture Practice – guiding organizations as they seek to build an intentional culture including equity and inclusion.

Solid Ground works with nonprofits and public-sector organizations with missions focused on healthy environment, thriving economy and / or vibrant community. Our clients in Oregon and SW Washington are quite varied and we have a national practice in land and water conservation. Our projects range from small planning engagements to complex large scale mergers and strategy initiatives.

To learn more about this opportunity, click HERE.

Summer Session Open!

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When folks heard that our next Reframing Racism workshop was scheduled for October, they let us know that waiting that long would just not work!  We’ve taken that feedback, moved a few things around and are happy to announce a summer session of Reframing Racism!  We must meet a minimum number of 25 participants so help us get there!

Here are the dates-

  • August 1-3 – this is the intensive portion (2.5 days)
  • August 24, September 7 and September 14 – these are the follow up sessions (6-9pm)

Click here for more details!

Click here to register!

We look forward to seeing you in August!