Dr. Monica Almond, The Almond Group and EDI Consultant

First Steps for Non-Profits Pursuing Diversity Plan:

Need to confront the reality that you have been exclusionary and carried biases in your organization.

Look in the mirror and admit you have been neglectful and have something that needs fixing. Humble yourself and be fully open to the process if you are hiring an EDI consultant.

People also need to be mindful of the terms they use. Some communities do not embrace the term BIPOC because it pits marginalized communities against each other and ranks them. Must be mindful and do the research before you use certain terms.

The Almond Group takes clients by the hand and leads them into brave conversations (not safe ones) and provokes them to change. Many people do not understand what they are getting into when hiring an EDI firm.

Measurable Changes:

The biggest thing to measure is who is in your leadership. Until you get to the place where you are willing to share power with people of color when making decisions about the direction of your organization, who you are hiring, who is on stage, etc., every other metric in your organization is not going to matter.

Studies show that an organization needs enough concentration of people of color in leadership to move the needle, not just one person. One person will not feel included but rather like an outcast.

With respect to which comes first – more diversity on Boards or in senior staff, best option is to do both at the same time. However, staff changes need to focus on leadership positions first, not entire staff.

We Can’t Find People of Color for Board, Staffs, etc:

There is a term – “homophily” – which means you prefer to be around people like you and are less likely to know people in other circles and therefore you only hire/solicit for Board positions people like you.

You have to purposely go outside and change your circle. You need to go outside your “lens” and see people of color.

Until White American Theater leaders go outside their comfort zones and hire outside those comfort zones, then they will continue to see things through their clouded lens.

It is so easy to go with what you know. Not easy to change that practice. It requires work and commitment.

Training:

We all need training, but training should not be the sole thing you do. Sometimes training in a silo actually can be detrimental.

Training that “shames and blames” can be counterproductive in moving the needle. People want to change voluntarily, not be shamed into changing.

Training is important and needs to be done regularly, but you also need to change the infrastructure of the work environment and make the changes systemically. Black and brown staff already know that systemic racism exists so bringing in a trainer telling them it does is not effective. They will get more frustrated and continue to feel isolated.

WAT Needs to Fix the Racism Problem:

Need to remember that white people of today did not create racism, but inherited it. The problem is if they perpetuate it. White people need to recognize their privilege and use that power to fix the problem. White people carry the power and need to listen to people of color and make systemic change.

There is merit in pursuing two different avenues of discussion – Whites and people of color – to separate and talk about the issues. But the two groups MUST then come back together to discuss as a whole group.

Successes Parameters:

There has to be more shared power not only in terms of leadership positions, but also on who is holding the economic purse strings. Need to narrow the economic gap between whites and people of color.

Notable Quote:

“Tokenism does not move the needle at all.”

“First step is admitting there is a problem and being committed to solving that problem.”

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