Public Resource

Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture

Equity in the Center.

Achieving race equity — the condition where one’s racial identity has no influence on how one fares in society — is a fundamental element of social change across every issue area in the social sector. The attainment of race equity requires us to examine all four levels on which racism operates (personal, interpersonal, institutional, and structural), recognize our role in enduring inequities, and commit ourselves to change.

This report presents the Race Equity Cycle, a cycle of change through which organizations transform from a white dominant culture to a Race Equity Culture. To get started, the report recommends the following:

  1. Establish a shared vocabulary. Ground your organization in shared meaning around race equity, structural racism, andother terms related to this work. 
  2. Identify race equity champions at the board and senior leadership levels. Select those who can set race equity priorities, communicate them broadly, drive accountability,and influence the speed and depth at which race equity is embedded in the organization.
  3. Name race equity work as a strategic imperative for your organization. Define and communicate how race equity connects to your mission, vision, organizational values, and strategies.
  4. Open a continuous dialogue about race equity work. Useresearch and learnings from other organizations to startthe conversation with your team or individuals who areinvested in your organizational cause.
  5. Disaggregate data. Collect, disaggregate, and report relevant data to get a clear picture of inequities and outcomes gaps both internally and externally.

This report was written in collaboration with over 120 practitioners, thought leaders, and subject matter experts on diversity, inclusion and race equity in the social sector. Both primary and secondary research was used to validate the theory and tools included, including an extensive literature review (over 25 reports, scholarly articles, other peer materials), in-depth interviews and a series of focus groups to refine and validate our findings. This publication is relevant if you:

  • Have some awareness that race equity is essential to driving impactful change within the social sector
  • Want to play an active role in advancing race equity in your organization
  • Lead, want to lead, or have been asked to lead race equity efforts within your organization
  • Want to understand how to build a Race Equity Culture within your organization