Undoing Patterns of Privilege as We Learn

Posted on Sep 22, 2015 in Authentic Communication, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Lessons from the Field | 0 comments

In my work with organizations around race, power and privilege, I’ve noticed a pattern. Sometimes we anticipate defensiveness on the part of white people in the group and plan our sessions to accommodate this defensiveness. I’ve begun correcting this pattern and setting goals more proactively. At the same time, I have become hyper aware that a primary reasons we’re doing this work is that people of color may feel unsafe,...

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Transgender Women’s Lives: A Family Matter

Posted on Sep 4, 2015 in Gender and Sexual Orientation, Lessons from the Field | 0 comments

Also published in the Huffington Post, here. This year we’ve broken a record, and it’s not a good one. More transgender women have been killed in the U.S. than in any other year on record. I’m heartbroken and angered that women keep dying, most of them women of color, most of them Black. Most were between the ages of 17-25, just coming into adulthood, when their lives, dreams and futures were stolen. They were sisters,...

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Seeing and Naming Racism in Nonprofit and Public Organizations

Posted on Jul 22, 2015 in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Lessons from the Field | 11 comments

In light of the unrelenting and vicious assaults on the Black community, and in response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I have asked myself what more I can do to challenge racism, particularly anti-Black racism. One thing I am doing is challenging myself to be more aware and forthright in noticing and speaking out about the racism I see when I work with non-profit and public organizations. This post is an effort to name those things that...

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Diversity & Equity: Closing the Leadership Gap

Posted on Apr 7, 2015 in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Lessons from the Field | 0 comments

Thanks to my colleagues Steve Lew, Senior Project Director, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and Maura Bairley, Interdependent Consultant for Social Change, for their contributions to this piece. When I work with organizations around diversity and equity[1], I start with managers, because I believe that their buy-in and investment is essential for the work to succeed. Lately, I’ve been struck by a gap I see between what it takes to build...

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#BlackLivesMatter: 5 Tips & 25 Questions for Nonprofit & Public Organizations

Posted on Dec 23, 2014 in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Lessons from the Field | 1 comment

Greetings and Happy Winter! I usually write something celebratory to mark the end of the year. But, today I’m interrupting my own business-as-usual to write about #BlackLivesMatter. How can non-profit and public organizations address anti-Black racism and support the #BlackLivesMatter movement? Many organizations have already been in action and are setting examples for others. This post provides tips and questions for ongoing reflection,...

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Six Cultural Barriers to Family Acceptance

Posted on Dec 1, 2014 in Gender and Sexual Orientation, Lessons from the Field | 0 comments

People often ask me about the cultural barriers that I see working with Latino families around family acceptance. I hesitate to answer this question because I don’t want to feed into stereotypes. The term culture is often used to talk about people who are considered different than the mainstream, but not about U.S. culture in general. This post discusses dominant cultural beliefs and norms related to gender and sexual orientation that I grew...

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