Anti-racism: The unspoken word every organization should be talking about

While diversity, equity, and inclusion have become commonplace in companies’ town halls and “About Us” sections, there’s still a word that many are shying away from—anti-racism.

According to The Center for Study of Social Policy and Racial Equity Tools, anti-racism is the active process of identifying and challenging racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies, practices, and attitudes to redistribute power equitably. By omitting anti-racism from the conversation, organizations find themselves in patterns of passive awareness of equity issues without honestly confronting the reality of systemic racism, acknowledging how they contribute to it and changing their behavior to actively create an equitable society.

So maybe you’re thinking to yourself—wow, that sounds extremely challenging. And honestly, it is. Because our racist systems were built on more than 400 years of oppression, understandably, it will take time to dismantle them. However, The Indianapolis Foundation has created a tool to move you and your organization into the space of anti-racism work. It’s called the Movement of 10,000 (MVMT10K).

What is MVMT10K?
MVMT10K is a digital tool designed as both a website and a mobile app with the goal of educating individuals in Central Indiana and beyond about the history of racism, its present implications, and methods to make constructive change against systemic racism. It is a continuous, adaptive curriculum that invites our community to continue learning.

Kayla Knox, researcher and sociologist, serves as the platform’s project manager and an equitable initiatives officer for The Indianapolis Foundation. Along with her efforts, many of the tools The Indianapolis Foundation and its collaborative partners have used to contribute to a more equitable and anti-racist institution support the MVMT10K.

Learning objective #1: Recognize that anti-racism work benefits EVERYONE
Everyone is negatively impacted by systemic racism. Deeply racialized systems are costly and depress outcomes for all populations. Challenging and changing these systems benefits us all. The Curb-Cut Effect has shown us that changes initially designed for a specific group of people spread out to help the vast majority. A commitment to an anti-racist community allows for more authentic relationships, space for innovation, abundance, joy and economic development. The Movement of 10,000 can be your entry point to that commitment.

What to expect
Once you sign up for the platform, you’ll agree to the rules of engagement. These guidelines are a commitment to own the space and responsibility for collective engagement that’s both respectful and insightful — allowing for reflection, learning and unlearning.

Guidelines include:

  • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  • Respect and listen to others’ lived experiences and respect different levels of awareness.
  • Speak from your own experience instead of generalizing (“I” instead of “they, “we” and “you.”)
  • Take risks, make mistakes and keep going and growing with the movement.

After setting up your profile, you’ll take a self-assessment. There are no right or wrong answers. The assessment allows you to recognize where you are on your learning journey, and you can retake it along your way to gauge where your understanding has shifted and how you feel about your role in building a more equitable community for all. You’ll then be able to dive into the initial learning pathway.

The pathway gives users — or Movers — a solid foundation for the road ahead, resources to protect their mental well-being and a shared vocabulary to make courageous conversations a little easier.

Tools to start the conversation
Whether you’re leading your organization’s equity work or an individual who wants to see some change in your organization, the thought of having a conversation around race might seem daunting. That’s why The Indianapolis Foundation team, in partnership with trained facilitators, experienced educators and current students, created the Movement of 10,000 facilitation guide. The guide is for anyone interested in facilitating group conversations using the resources uplifted by MVMT10K to inspire reflective learning about themes relating to anti-racism. It’s meant to direct your conversations and empower you and others to bring members of your staff or community together. We recognize that this is just a starting point.

Anti-racism isn’t just a moment
Even after you joined the Movement of 10,000 and went through the learning pathways, recognize that the work is not done. Awareness should eventually evolve into action—or Works of Equity. If you and your organization are genuinely going to have anti-racism implanted into your DNA, you must continue on the learning journey—the app is just an entry point.

Continuously evaluate your organization’s policies. Recognize your privilege. Assess where you’re at on your equity journey and where you still need to go further. As Pamela Ross, vice president of community leadership and equitable initiatives for The Indianapolis Foundation, says, “anti-racism cannot be just a moment. It must become a state of being.”

So, what are you waiting for? Join the movement today.

Author: Tashi Copeland

Marketing and Communications Officer

Tashi Copeland

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