The 1619 Project – My Perspective

The 1619 Project is the brainchild of New York Times writer and McArthur Genuis Fellow NiKole Hannah Jones. The issue starts with the following words: On August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the English colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully. The authors challenge us to consider 1619 as the birth year of this nation which would “require us to place the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country.” They offer the Special Issue for those who need some persuading. And there are lots of those people as I attempted to read the comments on the Official Facebook 1619 Project page. I had to stop after about 10 comments of people spewing hate towards the project suggesting that it’s divisive to bring up this darkest part of our American history. Newt Gingrich tweeted: “The NY Times 1619 Project should make its slogan “All the Propaganda we want to brainwash you with. It is a repudiation of the original NY Times motto.” Lots of “Get over it!” Comments over and over again. Yet I am encouraged by the many conversations the writing has sparked in my circles, particularly in my racially diverse racial healing circles of which there are quite a few. Recently I facilitated a dialogue among 25-30 people who came out to The Martin Luther King, Jr. Park (co sponsored by the Apex Museum) to consider what…

3 Thoughts on What it Takes to Make an Organizational Shift Towards Equity

Maybe you’re wondering what it really takes to begin to move your organization towards a more equitable establishment. There’s more to think and consider that just deciding that the time is right. Here are 3 thoughts to help you start taking some initial steps towards equity in the workplace: 1. The buy-in for equity has to involve leadership. In order for equity practices to be truly embraced in your organization, it has to involve leadership. Leadership sets the tone and is essential to the success of embedding growth and culture change. 2. You must have the Right Messenger – You may not be the right person to make the case for equity, but someone in your establishment is. Be the catalyst that starts the conversation and see who’s as passionate about equity as you are. 3. Timing and consultant ‘fit with agency’ truly matters – There’s never a wrong time to begin your equity journey, but timing is important. Consider where your organization is and the readiness for not only embracing, but incorporating change. Once you’ve decided your organization is ready, find a consultancy that is a good fit and match with your organizational structure.   Here’s an icebreaker to help you get the conversation started: Knowing the Community: Sharing Activity (Introductory-Level)  Objectives: (1) Participants will learn the names of each person in the class, group, or community, as well as something about each person’s background. (2) Participants will have a greater understanding and appreciation for the diversity within the group, while realizing that they have things in common with some of the people from whom they might have felt most distant. Activity Description: Participants should sit in a circle for this exercise if possible. The facilitator should hand out a list of items for each participant to share with the group. Items could include name/nicknames,…