Racial Equity is a social justice framework to address those who have been left behind, marginalized, and/or excluded in systemic and institutional policies, specifically people of color. The United States promises equality, equal protection, and due process for all its citizens (Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights), but the reality is that all people have never been equal in this country due to racism and racial oppression. This oppression has created multiple racial inequities spanning many aspects of social life including education, housing, health, wealth, and criminal justice. Therefore, we push for equity, because we feel we can take concrete steps within our organization to close racial gaps. We also center equity work over equality work, because we know that it’s harmful treating everyone the same due to the unique experiences and needs that people of color have navigating the world. Equality is a wonderful notion on paper as policy. Until we as a country can truly get there in practice, we must do our part in this equity work
It is our aim for this page to serve as a platform to raise awareness about racial equity within our organization and with our collaborators, to provide engagement opportunities for our residents and staff, to provide educational and local resources (e.g., community organizations, events, and opportunities) for our CHNW community members, and to demonstrate our commitment and values to racial equity within our organization. Furthermore, this page aims to keep us as an organization accountable to this work. Externalizing our efforts and increasing our visibility is the first step to demonstrating our commitment and asking that we be accountable to our staff and residents.
The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.
– Ijeoma Oluo
Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been happening within our organization for many years now, and since last summer we’ve formally been working to conceptualize what racial equity work would look like within College Housing Northwest. In June 2020, the CHNW Board of Directors moved to create an official racial equity committee at the recommendation and advocacy of a board member. This racial equity committee (REC), comprised of board members and CHNW staff, has met monthly since August 2020 and has been a space to bounce ideas, share experiences, build a learning community, and envision together. The committee has launched a working group (WG), which is tasked with transforming the committee’s feedback into tangible, thoughtful, planning and action. CHNW is currently preparing to launch a second extension of the REC, which will be a combined delegation of staff and residents. These three groups will work in tandem within a feedback loop to mobilize ideas and create sustainable action for meaningful, equitable change. Feedback and collaboration have always been at the center of our core values.
We’ve determined that assessing our organization’s policies, procedures, and practices, is the best place for us to start in this equity work. During the first quarter of 2021, we assessed multiple areas of our organization, including our staff, residents, resident councils, key documents and policies, and our board of directors. Those assessments are currently entering the data analysis stage, which will ultimately inform our recommendations and strategic planning. All the information that we gather in the process will ultimately inform CHNW’s first racial equity plan.
None of us alone can save the nation or the world. But each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so.
– Dr. Cornel West
It is our conviction that change does not happen overnight nor should it be rushed. This work should also not be trendy or performative. We want it to be thoughtful, educational, engaging, and inclusive. We will have regular updates to this process within the upcoming months and invite you to stay tuned to this page.