Path to Equity
Upholding Our Commitment to Equity
Equity can only be achieved when all are able to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential in an inclusive society.
The pandemic has highlighted and worsened deeply rooted and pervasive inequities in our community. While Neighborhood Allies always strives to foster a more just society, we have recently become more intentional about sharing our efforts with all of you. Over the past 18 months Neighborhood Allies has reflected on many things, including how we talk about our work and how we continue to center equity in all that we do. We know that what we say and how we say it is crucial to creating accessible resources for those we serve.
Language is a constantly evolving and powerful tool for communication that holds deep meaning and culture. Having a shared language allows us to better explain our intentions, build relationships, and create a stronger sense of community. As part of our commitment to equity, our full staff is participating in quarterly training sessions focused on Racial Equity and Mental Health. In 2021, one of these sessions, titled Co-creating Shared Meaning, Language setting as an inclusive practice1, focused on building a shared understanding of the historical meaning and use of language, the work of language setting2, code-switching3, and how systems produce the results they were designed to produce.
We want our language to reflect our intentions while also helping us to advance and uphold equity. We believe in lifting up community voices, and then doing our best to listen to them. That’s why in 2022, we’re working harder to say what we mean and mean what we say.
We know that this is one small step on our journey to centering equity and upholding it as a value of our organization. There is no closure in the work towards equity, so we are committed to asking questions, continuing to learn and grow, spending more time learning about the history and meaning of words and being intentional about the words that we choose to share. We aim to be transparent in this work, and invite you to hold us accountable. Particularly in:
- understanding there is no closure in the work toward equity
- asking questions while continuing to learn and grow
- spending more time learning about the history and meaning of words
- asking people how they want to be described
- recognizing our lived experiences can be both a barrier and a door for change and learning
It is of the utmost importance that those we serve feel: Heard Seen Empowered Valued Supported Loved Uplifted Respected Appreciated Considered Included Engaged
Our Commitment to Equity
We center our work and investments to foster a more just, fair, and inclusive society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. We emphasize the importance of racial equity—the condition achieved when one’s identity no longer statistically predicts how one fares. Racial equity is a part of racial justice and thus we work to address root causes of inequities and not just their manifestations.
Trainings Completed By Our Staff
2 “Language setting”: the process by which people assess and co-create definitions and shared meaning for words, terms, and ideas.
3 “Code-switching”: the process of switching languages or dialects based on the social context. For example, many Black people feel pressured to switch between “standard English” and African American Vernacular English (AAVE) to appear “more professional”.