Emboldening Antiracism in Lancaster County
Above: artist Kay Onye works on a mural of combined works by Adam Serrano, Keisha Finnie, Kearasten Jordan, and other community activists. Photo by Michelle Johnsen Photography
The Community Foundation believes our community is only strong when every voice is heard. Our community is only safe when every resident can live and dream fearlessly. Our community is only extraordinary when every family, neighbor, and friend is respected.
We believe these aspirational goals are worth cultivating. At the same time, we recognize that at the Community Foundation we have a lot to learn. We know that we all have work to do: as an organization, as a community, and as a country. While we’re still on our own journey of learning, we invite you to consider your role in this exploration. We know that we will be stronger if we travel together.
how we're moving forward
The Community Foundation has committed to a learning journey focused on DEI and antiracism, and how we might work to embolden Lancaster County to become an antiracist community.
We recognize that we have much to learn, and that there is no one path, tactic, or perspective that will unlock our understanding. We realize that we must invite and utilize the wealth of insights from lived experience from a rich tapestry of voices–many of which are here in our own community.
As an organization, have started a facilitated learning process for our team and board. While some of this work will be internal to our organization, some of it will be out in the community. We commit to sharing as much of our learning as we can, and creating opportunities for us to learn from, and with, members in our community. We invite you to join us…to ask questions, to listen, to learn, to grow in understanding, or simply to begin.
The work we’re doing right now:
We believe that building an organizational approach that utilizes antiracism requires that each of our board and staff members take a personal journey to becoming antiracist on an individual level. Our team is embarking on a year-long facilitated internal learning process. Goals include having a deeper understanding of local and national practices and policies that contribute to racist outcomes, developing a shared language, and understanding the systemic change that is needed to create true justice in a local and national context. As we undergo this process, we commit to sharing our learnings with our community and inviting you to join us as we travel this critical path to becoming better equipped to walk in this space.
As we learn, listen, connect and grow, we commit to using our organizational access and privilege to forge partnerships with antiracist organizations and initiatives. We will seek community partners who can support, amplify, and activate the voices and ideas from these organizations.
We will continue to expand our granting and funding to intentionally support antiracist programming, as well as providing support to community benefit organizations (CBOs) to receive high-quality capacity building to advance their work of becoming antiracist organizations.
As we undergo deep learning with our team and our organization, we will also be taking action outward, and that means potentially making missteps along the way. We commit to truly hearing feedback from residents, correcting mistakes, adapting our approach, and constantly improving our lanes of communication with the community, and thereby our programming. We thank you in advance for your ideas and insights to help us better serve this community.
We don’t have a perfect way of providing feedback yet, but in the meantime, please
Resources from our team
The Community Foundation as well as other organizations, businesses, and individuals throughout Lancaster County and the country have much to learn and unlearn about the ways racism has shaped our world, and the community we serve.
And while there is no one set path, there are many ways forward. And though we have far to go, we can go.
The Community Foundation team has begun collecting resources that various members of our team have found useful in helping to shape and reshape our race consciousness, both in personal terms, as well as at an organizational level. It is by no means a complete list, nor is it intended to be. We understand that we are only at the beginning of our journey to understand our role in perpetuating systems of oppression, as well as our ability to dismantle them. We offer these resources that have been helpful to different members of our team in the hopes that they may also be useful to you, and invite you to submit a resource that you have found helpful to our list as well.
We believe that the journey towards antiracism must begin with the individual, as each organization, business, or society is a reflection of the individuals that make it up. Here are some resources that members of our team have found helpful to begin this exploration at an individual level:
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“1619“, podcast from The New York Times
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We have found in our journey that antiracism is about more than just individual growth: it has to permeate into the work that we do, because together, we can build power, amplify voices, and make substantive change. Here are some resources members of our team have consulted as we begin exploring antiracism at the organizational level:
Advancing the Mission: Tools for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Diversity Equity and Inclusion series, Nonprofit Quarterly
Racial Equity Impact Assessment Tool, RaceForward
Getting Equity Advocacy Results (GEAR) Tool from PolicyLink
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The Danger of a Single Story, Chimamanda Adichie
Radical Imagination, podcast from PolicyLink
Moving the Race Conversation Forward, RaceForward
Equity is the Superior Growth Model, PolicyLink
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Understanding the largescale impact of racist policies on our country can often feel overwhelming; we have found it’s important to always find ways to be reminded that these are issues that impact us, our neighbors, our friends, and our coworkers. Part of that has been learning more about the history of those policies at a local level, as well as the proud history that has emerged from resistance to them, because it is work that continues to this day, and we are grateful for these important local resources and organizations.
building on momentum
We have come to learn that antiracism is a rich tapestry of ideas and intersections. Within antiracism must be a commitment to fighting discrimination and discriminatory policies of all kinds: sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, anti-semitism, environmental justice, and more. While the above resources are primarily focused on confronting the history of racism and racist policies with regards to the Black and Brown communities, we recognize the work of combating those policies must center the voices that can speak to these intersections. And while we are still at the onset of our journey, we are committed to continuing to move forward, learning as we go, and we hope you will join us.
Questions, thoughts, concerns?