Board of Directors Approves Racial Equity Task Force Recommendations
Last September, The Center Board of Directors created a Racial Equity Task Force (RETF) to develop recommendations for how The Center will advance equity, diversity, and inclusion within the organization. The origins and objectives of the task force were detailed in an article in the January/February edition of News from The Center (see below).
Over the course of six months, with input from multiple stakeholders, RETF members Kaki Dimock, Don Gathers, Dr. Ebony Hilton, Enid Krieger, Deidra Massie, Siri Russell, Christine Thalwitz, Peter Thompson, and chair Juandiego Wade identified key issues on which The Center, within the scope of its mission, should focus its resources. They determined that initial efforts should be directed internally before we can stand effectively with other organizations and work in partnership to drive change.
At a meeting on March 22, the RETF presented its recommendations in a report to the Board. “The report sets forth a specific, structured, long-term plan for changing and improving The Center’s legacy of racial equity and inclusion in the Charlottesville community,” said Wade. A key component is the formation of a Board-level special committee to draft an equity action plan that will prioritize three focus areas: Organizational Commitment, Leadership & Governance; Organizational Climate, Culture & Communications; and Community Collaboration. This special committee will be comprised of board, staff, Center, and community members.
With unanimous approval from the Board, work on creating the special committee has begun. The Task Force emphasized that its recommendations are just a start to the work we seek to accomplish in our community. “This,” wrote the report authors, “is ‘forever’ work that will continue to evolve. It will require significant leadership, resources, and accountability, but in prioritizing this work, The Center will evolve to be truly equitable and have profound impacts on our community.”
As a community resource, The Center has a responsibility to build an inclusive culture that reflects diverse racial, ethnic, and economic groups. Only by becoming more representative of the communities we serve can we fulfill our mission and achieve our vision of a healthy community for all.