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Youth Mandate – The School Board Elections Toolkit: How young people can build power through school board elections for 501(c)(3) Organizations

July 12, 2022

In the era of COVID-19 and following the 2020 wave of nationwide uprisings contesting white supremacy, United States politics have grown increasingly polarized at every level of government. Communities across the country are waging battles along partisan and ideological lines, from debates over public health measures, such as mask-wearing and vaccines, to whether to teach young people the truth about this country's legacy of enduring systemic racism or "critical race theory" and the need for police free schools. While there are limited opportunities for engagement on these issues at the national level, many community members have sought opportunities to engage in local politics. As a result, school boards – the most local and easily accessible form of government – have become sites of intense political and cultural debate.Indeed, the country has seen a recent flurry of engagement in school board races and increased scrutiny over election outcomes. A recent analysis by Ballotpedia identified at least 84 attempted school board recalls against 215 board members in 2021 – a significant increase from any other year since at least 2009. However, while school board activity has intensified since 2020, local activism in school board politics is not a new phenomenon. Since the 1950s, school board politics have proven meaningful to Black and Brown communities as they organize to dismantle white supremacy and fight for education justice in their communities.At this moment, with heightened levels of community engagement in school boards across the country, there are viable opportunities for young people, parents, and community members to participate in this critical site of local power and uplift their issues through the electoral process. The communities already building their participation in school board advocacy are demanding that school board members address how Black and Brown young people face harm in schools (including the racist and punitive school discipline policies and the presence of police and security in schools). They are calling on school board members to align with their bold vision for a liberatory education system based on inclusion, equity, and racial justice principles.

Partnering with Federal Agencies to Advance Racial Equity

May 12, 2022

Partnering with Federal Agencies to Advance Racial Equity is a report by Race Forward and PolicyLink  that describes the work that commenced in partnership with federal agency offices, considers observations and lessons learned along the way, and discusses efforts that must continue at the federal level to fully realize the intentions of the executive order and move this country toward a more racially just future.Race Forward and PolicyLink co-led a Racial Equity Governing Pilot Project with federal agencies in the fall and winter of 2021 and 2022. This report discusses critical elements of these partnership pilots and lessons to inform and support the longer term aspirations of the federal government to become actively antiracist. 

Advancing Racial Equity: A Framework for Federal Agencies

February 2, 2022

Advancing Racial Equity: A Framework for Federal Agencies has emerged from years of work with local and state governments across the country by Race Forward's Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). This report describes the components of a racial equity approach and walks practitioners and leaders in the federal government through key actions and the challenges they will face as they embark on implementing racial equity strategies.The framework is centered on the key components of visualizing, normalizing, organizing, and operationalizing racial equity. These components form a cycle of practice and learning that should be repeated and deepened as this work gains traction and is built out. The report also includes an overview of racial equity tools that can be tailored to serve the purpose of federal agencies.It is the responsibility of government to build a stronger, deeper democracy that brings the values of equity and justice to life. There are immediate and straightforward steps that federal agencies can and should take to begin advancing racial equity. All federal public servants should feel emboldened to take up this long-term endeavor with the understanding they are joining a growing field of practice.While the challenges in achieving racial equity are great, so too are the opportunities. There is a rich body of knowledge, good practices, models, and lessons available from local and state jurisdictions to support federal agencies in taking action. By leveraging the tried-and-tested actions outlined in this report federal agencies level up outcomes for people of color while improving socioeconomic outcomes for all.

Advancing Equity in Year 2 of the Biden Administration

January 19, 2022

President Biden took on the monumental task of being the first administration to name equity as the responsibility of the federal government. The work of this second year must be focused on ensuring efforts to advance equity not only deepen but endure across future administrations. This brief outlines how the Biden Administration can hold itself accountable to its equity commitments and build on this foundation to ensure the federal government finally serves all people.

From Seed to Harvest: A Toolkit for Collaborative Racial Equity Strategies

September 14, 2021

This tool is meant to guide racial equity practices in the creation and assessment of sustainability and renewable energy policies and programs. It offers a framework and systematic process to build cultures of accountability and work towards racial equity outcomes in decision-making. Lastly, it provides a tangible pathway for an ecosystem approach to operationalizing collective racial equity values. 

Creating Cultures and Practices for Racial Equity: A Toolbox for Advancing Racial Equity for Arts and Cultural Organizations

April 27, 2021

Creating Cultures and Practices for Racial Equity contains a variety of tools that emerged from Race Forward's Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab to help artists, arts advocates, culture bearers, and cultural workers to imagine, plan, and implement racial equity strategies in arts organizations. Whether an arts or cultural practitioner already working with a racial equity team and plan or just beginning the journey towards organizational transformation, these tools can help guide, focus, and reinvigorate efforts. Using a racial equity tool helps give deliberate attention to racial and social justice. These tools can be used to make strategic and equitable decisions in assessing existing or proposed policies, practices, plans, programs, grantmaking, contracting, budgets, etc.

Monterey County: From Disenfranchisement to Voice, Power, and Participation

February 4, 2020

In 2017, Race Forward released Building the We: Healing-Informed Governing for Racial Equity, which highlighted the ongoing work leaders from across different sectors were doing to address mounting racial and economic tensions in Salinas. This updated report explores key questions that can be used to inform racial equity efforts in other communities across the country. What does it take to engage in authentic collaboration? How do government agencies repair the harms they've exacerbated in Black and Brown communities to build a new path towards the future? Monterey County: From Disenfranchisement to Voice, Power and Participation offers lessons from the ongoing process in Salinas, and shows one community's model for contending with historical disinvestment and inequities perpetuated by government systems and other institutional players. 

Ready for Equity in Workforce Development: Racial Equity Readiness Assessment Tool

May 30, 2019

The Workforce Development Racial Equity Readiness Assessment is designed as a guide for workforce development organizations and practitioners to evaluate their programs, operations, and culture in order to identify strength areas and growth opportunities. Practitioners can use this toolkit to familiarize themselves with various practices and policies that support institutional racial equity, evaluate their current efforts, and plan action steps.

Beyond Training and the Skills Gap: Research and Recommendations for Racially Equitable Communications in Workforce Development

January 1, 2019

As part of a three-year Race Forward project on racial equity in workforce development, Beyond Training and the "Skills Gap" – Research and Recommendations for Racially Equitable Communications in Workforce Development provides a broad picture forthe field's leaders and professionals of how the workers they serve – particularly workers ofcolor – are framed in the media coverage of jobs in two expanding, higher wage industries – technology and health care. The report also provides the workforce development field with practical tips for racially equitable communications to broaden the collective responsibility for employment and other economic outcomes in our communities.

Adding Racial Equity to the Menu: An Equity Toolkit for Restaurant Employers

November 1, 2017

This Racial Equity Toolkit provides restaurant management with practical resources for assessing, planning, and implementing steps toward racial equity at your business. There is no step too small: every action you take helps your business thrive and fosters stronger local relationships with your workers and consumers.This toolkit combines the expertise of three national organizations: Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), Race Forward, and the Center for Social Inclusion. Collectively, these organizations have decades of experience in restaurant-standards innovation and racial-equity consulting. To ensure this tool is useful, realistic, and accessible for real-life people in the industry, we partnered with two respected fine dining and casual dining restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area: Alta (San Francisco) and Homeroom (Oakland).

Race-Explicit Strategies for Workforce Equity in Healthcare and IT

June 15, 2017

Healthcare and information technology (IT) are two of the fastest growing sectors in the United States and provide numerous high-paying career options around the country. However, most of these living-wage careers are only available to individuals who have advanced degrees and other costly credentials, which are real barriers to many people of color in low-income communities. Providing access into healthcare and IT careers will become an increasingly critical role for workforce development agencies as these sectors continue to take over more of the labor market.Drawing from academic research, interviews with workers of color and key experts in the field, and results from a 2016 Race Forward survey of 70 workforce development organizations nationwide, Race-Explicit Strategies for Workforce Equity in Healthcare and IT identifies barriers to achieving equitable employment outcomes for workers of color in the workforce development field, and outlines solutions to increase racial equity through a systemic,  race-explicit, and outcome-oriented approach.The report identifies major internal and external barriers to greater adoption of race-explicit strategies for equity in the workforce development field, including racial bias and discrimination, limited tracking of racial disparities and outcomes, and a lack of services to support low-income workers of color.

Building the We: Healing-Informed Governing for Racial Equity in Salinas

February 17, 2017

In 2014 an innovative partnership between government, nonprofit, and philanthropy began in the city of Salinas, California: Healing-Informed Governing for Racial Equity. In a context of mounting racial tension, leaders from these three distinct arenas collaborated to bring about a new initiative aimed at addressing the root causes of inequity and division within the city, on which Race Forward served as training partner and consultant.The report covers how leaders in Salinas laid the groundwork for this initiative, launched a training program for over one hundred government staff and community advocates, and formed a joint steering committee to operationalize racial equity throughout the city. Positive outcomes of this endeavor have already emerged including policy and program improvements in the Salinas Police, Public Works and Community and Economic Development departments. In addition to describing the implementation strategy and outcomes for this work, "Building the We" highlights four key lessons that are useful for anyone planning to institute racial equity within their own locality:Support community organizing and collective healing.Balance racial healing and systemic equity.Engage government staff at every level.Build the "we" with shared language and experience.