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Keeping the movement going together, even when we’re apart

At United Way ATX we are committed to doing the hard work, internally and in our community, of confronting racism. Our mission is to bring together people, ideas and resources to fight poverty in our community, and we we can most effectively fight poverty when we stand up for racial equity.

Internally, we are 18 months into a deep dive on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and have been doing hard, introspective work on our shortcomings as an organization and finding innovative and inclusive solutions to continue moving forward in an open and equitable way. During this time, our team has been committed to transformation and growth, to keep learning and unlearning and to create safe spaces for our team to thrive. 

Since transitioning to working in the virtual space we’ve enjoyed staying connected on our DEI goals through resource sharing. #BlackLivesMatter to us, every single day, and our team is committed to the movement, not the moment. Three members of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee have volunteered to share some of their favorite resources that have made an impact on them.

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Jordan Gutierrez-Ramirez | Corporate Volunteer Manager, United Way for Greater Austin

Resource: In Bold Company, a community

Let’s be honest, the past few months haven’t been easy. Whether we are aware of it or not, systemic racism is something we live with every day, and as a brown woman it has been heartbreaking to see what is happening to the Black community both right now and long before the US was even a country.

I also believe that we CAN do something – there is so much work to be done to support Black lives. For me that means seeking out and supporting folks who are also committed to lifting up the Black community. One local resource I found and enjoyed this year is a community of women of color and non-binary women of color called in bold company. Check them out on Instagram, read their blog, or listen to their podcast, there’s even a list of anti-racism resources for non-Black Women of Color! 

Sometimes I don’t know where to start, there’s such a barrage of books, articles, and social media posts it is easy to feel overwhelmed. In a search for grounding, I find myself coming back to this short meditation. Taking a moment to breathe in the pain of the world and breathe out healing back into the world helps give me the energy to show up for the work of fighting injustice.”

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Sammi Brown | Corporate Relations Coordinator, United Way for Greater Austin

Resource: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh

“As a believer in equality, I am poised to champion the United Way mission. As a white person, I recognize that my very privilege has led to the systems, I have so confidently tried to dismantle. 

This resource was extremely helpful for me in beginning my journey to awareness and understanding of true racism. I believe it speaks volumes to how “white privilege” is the enemy of justice in the system. I am committed to changing this and hope you will join me by diving in here.” 

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Morgan Messick | Marketing & Communications Manager, United Way for Greater Austin

Resource: Anti-racism resources – a document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020.

“For me, the number one thing to do is to approach the topic of racism with a lens that I have racism ingrained in me as a white person. Systemic racism exists at every level of the society I grew up in, and my greatest task is unlearning my bias (unconscious, or otherwise) and practice being an anti-racist.

As a forever student, the greatest resource at my disposal is a curriculum of resources to continue learning from. I am so grateful to have found a google doc compilation of resources, created in May 2020 by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein. This document has been a wealth of information, and has been a tangible thing I can pass along to others who need help unlearning. We know it’s important to take on the burden of learning and unlearning on our own, and to not add additional burdens to our BIPOC friends. This tool helps us help ourselves. I will never not share this thoughtfully curated document.”

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Our DEI Committee is made up of a core group of folks who are committed to having courageous conversations and facilitating a space for organizational feedback and recommendations (anonymous and otherwise). We are also tasked with helping prioritize and strategize tangible diversity, equity and inclusion goals that help us move our organization forward. Our committee is a compassionate group of diverse colleagues from all levels of the organization and all departments of the organization. We do not gather to be fixers, but to be partners in this work together — and partners with the entire Austin community. 

We’d love to hear what you’ve been reading and learning. Have you been sharing resources, stories, or information with your networks? What have you been doing to keep the forward momentum? Please share! Drop links in the comments, and follow us on Facebook to keep the conversation moving in Greater Austin. Let’s hold each other accountable, let’s #LiveUnited.

 

Photo by Michael Minasi/KUT, June 9, 2020 

Special thanks to members of the United Way for Greater Austin DEI Committee for sharing.

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