How to Advance Racial Justice

Understand Key Concepts

Several terms are used to describe diversity, inclusion, equity, and racial and social justice. Currently, the most common terms are antiracism and racial justice. Although there are similarities in what each term signifies, each term applies to different inclusion approaches. For a list of terms you might encounter, visit the Racial Justice Glossary page.

Talk (and Listen) to your Team

Individuals experience their professional environment differently. Although diversity and inclusion suggest individuals from different backgrounds and experiences contribute to the vitality of an organization or business. The “business case for diversity” is frequently used; however, research indicates not everyone equally participates in the organization or business.

Organizations and businesses are taking this time to talk (check-in) with their employees/staff to discuss how they are feeling, their experience within the company or organization, and asking for feedback on how to move forward.

To talk (listen) to your team, secure an internal or external facilitator to help moderate the conversation and take notes (Zoom and other online apps also allow for recordings).

Conduct an Audit/Assessment

Assessing where the company or organization is in terms of access, equity, and opportunity is critical to racial and social justice work. Audits or assessments provide data on who is hired, promoted, or engaged. They can also capture how employees perceive diversity, equity, access, and inclusion. These assessments serve as a starting point for discussions, plans, and organizational change.

Prepare the Frontline

Organizational change can be difficult because it challenges the culture, policies, practices, and traditions of a company or organization. Preparing the front-line involves training, educating, and informing critical staff and administrative leadership to advance a goal or campaign. Preparing the front-line includes formulating a strategic campaign plan that identifies key communicators, communication frames (strategic messages), crisis communication, and how engage multiple constituents.

Build/Modify a Capacity Building Plan

Capacity-building serves as a process through which organizations identify, strengthen, modify, and advance existing capabilities to meet the needs of the organization or institution. Capacity building borrows from non-profit organizational change management and emphasizes the strategic use of internal strengths, promising practices, and available resources while allowing for new opportunities to advance the organization’s strategic goals.

Make Changes and Be the Change

Concern over organizational, social, or public proclamations are emerging and are related to past commitments to diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and change that did not manifest. Models such as the Diversity Planning Process Model (Williams & McClendon, 2007) indicate that organizations either commit to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion initiatives or engage in activities that result in hollow commitments.

Stay Connected and Stay Committed

Diversity and inclusion work can be challenging. As companies and organizations commit to racial and social justice during a global pandemic crisis, other issues or initiatives may take precedence. It is important for individuals and institutions to remain committed to racial justice work.