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Building Anti-Racist Boards: Three new white papers from DJA and colleagues

At DJA, we’re always thinking about how to reduce the impact of systemic bias. In many ways, equity lives in the process: the systems, structures, and processes that we operate within carry enormous implications for how equitably people are able to participate.

Board governance is a great example. Countless organizations are talking about how anti-racism should look, but far fewer are identifying actions that de-bias systems, build in inclusive practice, or define what it means to be anti-racist. The processes and structures of our organizations define how much people are able to bring their full selves and abilities to their board work.

The work that we put into building inclusive systems will, with time and persistence, pay off with better systems for all.

Over the last few months, DJA has been working with two non-profit partners, Code for Science & Society and Invest in Open Infrastructure, to build guidelines for anti-racist non-profit board governance. After we...

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The Inclusive Manager’s Series

The Inclusive Manager’s Series is back! Join DeEtta Jones and DJA Senior Consultant Molly McInerney to talk about Solidarity with the API Community on Thursday, April 1 at 11:00 am eastern.

Register for the April 1 session

This discussion will kick off the Inclusive Manager’s Series. Each month, we’ll host new sessions with a variety of topics and guest speakers. We look forward to engaging with you.

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Solidarity with the API Community: What Comes After the Statement?

By Molly McInerney, Senior Consultant

We at DeEtta Jones & Associates (DJA) are horrified and heartbroken by the rising rates of hate crimes, racist violence and harassment, and discrimination against members of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community. We are committed to the racial equity movement for all people of color and condemn racism in any form. We believe stating our support of the API community is a single step on the journey towards solidarity. We honor the API community’s pain, anger, and grief in the wake of Tuesday’s racist attack, which took the lives of eight people, including six Asian/Asian American women working in the greater Atlanta area. 

We are a company known for centering voices from a variety of lived experiences, and we’re sensitive to the negative impact of organizational virtue signaling on the API community and other people of color. This is why we ask ourselves in these critical moments, “what is the best way to...

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Recruiting for Diversity: 7 Things to Avoid (and suggested Inclusive Alternatives)

Among all of the important work to be done related to your equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism efforts, recruitment seems to be the one most heavy on everyone’s mind. Just like other strategic priorities, recruitment has to be carefully focused on, invested in, and measured. Of equal importance is defining what attributes effective recruitment includes – which also helps clarify what to avoid. Below are 7 things to avoid in your diversity recruitment efforts. Use this list as a conversation starter with your hiring managers, search committees, and HR team. 

1. Avoid ambiguity. Avoid going into recruitment with vague ideas about what the ideal candidate should be able to bring or do based on the current laundry list of items that need attention or based on a void left by the person who most recently filled the position. 

Inclusive Alternative: Think about the current and future needs of your team, department and/or organization. I encourage the...

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Turn Your Camera On!

 

Are you sick and tired of zoom meetings? Me, too! It feels like twice as much energy is needed to be in a virtual space; I totally get it. On the other hand, this is the reality many of us are navigating. At least for the near term, we are going to be largely beholden to many more virtual meetings than pre-Covid so let’s figure out how to be as effective as possible. Here’s a suggestion: Turn your camera on. 

If you are in virtual sessions and want to make sure that your ideas, your authentic voice, your unique skills and perspectives are present, you must be fully present. Others in the space need full access to you. Think about it: So much of human communication is nonverbal. There’s power in eye contact, gestures, smiles. It’s also much easier to signal a desire to verbally contribute to an active discussion if others can see you, can see you about to speak or see you pondering a question that may cause them to invite you to share your thinking. ...

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Six Ways to Celebrate Women on International Women’s Day

Credit: Annastaysia Savage 2015

By Maggie Cousin

I grew up in upstate New York keenly aware of gender issues and yet, I had never even heard about International Women’s Day until I lived in China in the early 2000s. I remember being in my early 20s, in my first year in the Peace Corps, teaching at a college in rural Southwest China, and being summoned to an all-faculty assembly. My Chinese was still limited so I wasn’t quite clear on what exactly we were celebrating but I happily accepted the arm full of flowers offered to me. Then, I took my place at the front of the assembly with all of the other women faculty. Over the next hour, it dawned on me. This was a celebration - a celebration filled with songs, poems, and speeches about the power of women and how we should be lifted up and revered. I did not understand many of the words that day, but I absolutely understood the spirit. Later, I asked many questions of my students and faculty peers about...

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The Truth About Labels

allies inclusion Feb 19, 2021

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

By Ali Smith

“Open-minded,” “liberal,” and “tree hugger” are labels I have always felt describe me, and words with which I’ve been proud to be associated. I do not recall ever making a conscious decision for acceptance to be a guiding value of mine; for as long as I can remember, I have always judged people on their actions and behaviors, not on their gender, race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. I have not placed a lot of importance on appearance (this is why I LOVE working in my pajamas from home – I just don’t care). Actions, behaviors, values, and kindness – this is what I care about and this is what I preach to my kids. 

A relative of mine recently came out, which was not a surprise to anyone. 

And then they announced their gender identity (label) as “non-binary”, and their pronouns as “he/they” (which was a surprise). I have tried very hard to...

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Why can’t we just talk to each other? Conversational Values and You

By: Tyler Dzuba

Have you ever tried to have a conversation, but keep getting derailed for one of these two reasons?

  • “They won’t speak up at all! I’m carrying the whole conversation!”
  • “I can’t get a word in edgewise! They’re taking up all the air in the room!”

Let me share how some savvy from the world of linguistics can help you communicate better in these cases. (Spoiler: try on the opposite conversational style, even if it feels a little rude to you!)

Did you know that across cultures and languages, people on average notice a silence of only 200 milliseconds—just a fifth of a second!—as a discernible gap in conversation? That’s literally a blink of an eye.

Here’s the thing, though: what we do with those gaps in conversation might get us in trouble depending on who we’re talking with. The research in conversation analysis tells us that individual people fall on a spectrum between high-involvement...

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Structural Racism Made Approachable. Actionable.

Everyone is talking about structural racism. It's an important, intimidating, sometimes confusing, and huge topic. Let's get our arms around what it is—and how it's different from behavioral racism.

First, racism. Racism is the belief (whether or not we admit to others or even consciously to ourselves) that groups can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another.

Behavioral racism is when we act on racist beliefs. It appears as telling a racist joke, holding and acting on stereotypes that negatively portray another race, or perpetuate attitudes or beliefs that reinforce beliefs about one or more racial groups. Researchers define structural racism as "the normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal – that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. It is a system of hierarchy and inequity, primarily characterized by white...

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The Influence of Inherited Racism

by Dana Mariani-Lada

People can be in situations, not actively chosen by the individual, where they learn racist behaviors and attitudes. It is my belief that, regardless of where or how we learn about racism, we each have responsibility for identification, acknowledgement and dismantling it. Inherited racism is the term that I use (actually, I think I’m coining it with this post). My definition is informed by my own lenses, my experiences. It is the idea that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race that is consciously or subconsciously transferred from an authority figure to an individual at early stages of life through adulthood. The individual, who receives prejudiced and/or discriminatory communication from an authority figure may, and often, believes these attitudes are appropriate. It is important for individual growth and development to identify what attitudes have permeated your upbringing and make an effort to identify, evaluate, and...

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