DevNW and CLW share a vision of a community in which all people – black, brown, indigenous, Asian and white – from all socioeconomic backgrounds – have equal access to opportunity, affordable housing, financial wellbeing, and healthy communities.
But we recognize that systemic racism, white supremacy culture, and other forms of oppression and marginalization have dominated social, civic, and financial systems in our country, our state, our communities, and in our local institutions for hundreds of years and continue today.
These systems have directly contributed to – and continue to deepen – vast inequalities in wealth, housing, small business development, health, opportunity, access to resources (financial, political, and social), and many other areas that are core to the mission of DevNW/CLW.
For DevNW to accomplish our mission of creating vibrant communities by empowering individuals, families, small businesses, and neighborhood, we must confront and work to dismantle racism and oppression at every level, starting with ourselves and our organization.
Race and racism are intentionally at the center of our equity work because of the pervasive and deep disparities created by racial oppression and the need for focus in order to impact these entrenched systems. But our work begins – it does not end – with race. We are committed to using the framework of racial equity and social justice to address other forms of oppression, including those based on gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and citizenship status, in order to create an inclusive organization that is proactively working to dismantle disparities created by systemic racism and to increase equity and justice.
This is an ongoing process that requires sustained commitment from our organization. We make the following commitment to our community, transparently and as an invitation for accountability. We encourage and invite feedback and partnership, especially from BIPOC and other marginalized communities.
DevNW, as an organization, commits to:
- Proactively provide ongoing training for our staff and board, to increase our understanding of racism, oppression, and privilege at the individual, interpersonal, organizational, community and systemic level, to work toward dismantling existing systemic racism. We will utilize both internal and external expertise, centering the voice and perspective of BIPOC and other marginalized people.
- Continuously work to identify, understand, and dismantle white supremacy culture within our organization and program delivery, while building a culture that is intentionally inclusive, healthy, and offers our staff, board, clients, and partners the ability to be their authentic selves. This work is inclusive of the whole organization, but the commitment must be led (in words and actions) by everyone in leadership.
- Provide intentional support for our entire staff team - especially our BIPOC staff and others who are members of historically marginalized groups - recognizing that this work is personal, emotional, and often rooted in trauma.
- Purposefully seek to recruit, hire, retain, promote, and support BIPOC and other historically underrepresented staff across all levels of the organizations, including specific effort to:
- Increase the racial/ethnic diversity of senior management staff;
- Ensure that our board of directors is equally or overly reflective of the BIPOC and low-income communities we serve;
- Ensure pay equity for BIPOC, women, and other staff who have faced historic pay disparities.
- Recognizing that historical inequities/disparities can only begin to be addressed with correspondingly greater resources today and in the future, we will allocate proportionately greater organizational resources (funding, time, focus, etc.) to overcoming systemic inequalities in BIPOC and other historically marginalized communities –
- Allocate proportionately greater program funding across all departments to intentionally serve BIPOC and other historically under-served communities;
- Increase our organizational contracts with BIPOC-owned and other historically marginalized businesses;
- Develop new programs and services through a specific lens of whether (and to what extent) they directly address historic and systemic disparities;
- Analyze and improve our client-facing processes and procedures to ensure the easiest access for BIPOC and other historically marginalized communities;
- Ensure that outreach and communication about programs and services are proportionately aimed at BIPOC and historically marginalized communities;
- Commit to ongoing learning (from both qualitative and quantitative data) to intentionally, thoughtfully, and respectfully value the experiences of the communities we serve and better understand the impact of our work.
- Advocate at the local, state, and national level for policy changes that reduce historical and systemic disparities and increase equity, setting our policy agenda through the lens of which policy changes most impact BIPOC and other historically marginalized communities. We will utilize our expertise, resources, and services to support policies that positively affect BIPOC communities, oppose policies that negatively affect BIPOC communities, lending our voice and capacity as needed and appropriate, with the knowledge that these community voices are the expert voices.
- Be an ally organization to culturally specific and BIPOC-led peer organizations, including deferring funding that historically might have come to DevNW but can be better utilized by our peers.
- Provide transparent reporting (both internally and externally) about our commitment to equity, the concrete steps we are taking, and the outcomes we have achieved.
DevNW staff, as individual members of our team, commit to:
- Actively engage in training and learning, recognizing that we all have more to learn and a responsibility to gain knowledge and skill across the full breadth of equity topics.
- Strive to better understand our own identities and our impact on others, especially when in a dominant identity group and/or position of privilege related to others, including:
- Understanding the intersectionality of identity and oppression;
- Working to be an ally (and understand the full meaning of that term) when in a position of privilege.
- Be knowledgeable about, open to, and affirming of the cultures and identities of our clients, partners, and colleagues, including understanding the historical and systemic disparities that each may face and seeking to gain the skills we each need to adapt our interpersonal interactions and service delivery to be culturally responsive and supportive.
- Work in our professional roles to be proactively anti-racist and further social justice; embrace that our work requires that being ‘not racist’ or passively accepting the status quo is not sufficient to meet the outcomes we seek for our organization, our clients, and our communities.
- Show up to work with the unique knowledge and worldview of our identities and be willing (to the extent that we have the personal bandwidth and organizational support to do so) to share our lived experience, offer insights to influence policy/program decisions, engage with peers on DEIJ topics, and be an active participant in creating a culture of inclusion.
- Identify and offer productive feedback when we witness or experience racism or oppression in our work (to the extent that we feel safe to do so and that DevNW/CLW have created a culture of authenticity), so that our colleagues and our organization have a chance to learn and change from the feedback.
- Openly receive, reflect on, and learn from productive feedback offered by colleagues, consultants, partners, and clients; rather than denial or justification, be willing to learn and grow from mistakes. We begin from a recognition that we are all learning and will all make mistakes, but we are united in our commitment to perpetual improvement.
- Uphold these values in all aspects of our work with the organization and avoid outside activities which would interfere with DevNW/CLW’s commitment to equity. This includes refraining from personal social media posts that perpetuate racism, oppression, or discrimination. If we inadvertently share content that is contrary to this commitment, we will engage in the learning opportunity when that is brought to our attention.
- Support each other, including our colleagues, clients, and partners, as we seek to uphold the commitments outlined here, recognizing that the pursuit of equity is deeply personal, often rooted in trauma, and is an ongoing process that will include mistakes. Each of us will need support and can also offer support, so that we are better able to engage in this difficult and necessary work.