Do The Work

An invitation to join the Fall Learning Series that starts on September 27

Last month I picked up a new book focused on racial equity. Everything about this book spoke to me. Its title was action focused. Its pages offered lots of space for writing, coloring, and playing. It balances activities to do alone and ways to have important conversations with others. Its tone is one of empathy yet impatience.
The book is Do The Work! An Antiracist Activity Book written by W. Kamau Bell and Kate Schatz. It many ways, this book heartened me as I worked with colleagues to shape our fall learning series. You see, the paragraph at the bottom of the cover could be rewritten to describe what many people who train – or produce training events or any events at all – are experiencing right now.
Here’s the original:

“For all of the people overwhelmed by racial injustice and white supremacy in America, who’ve taken some action and know they can do more, but don’t always know what to do or how to do it, or are afraid of getting it wrong or not knowing enough and are left wondering what do I dooo…”

Now swap out the fifth word — people — for whatever role you want to consider… trainer, teacher, program director, consultant, conference planner, etc.

“For all of the nonprofit educators overwhelmed by racial injustice and white supremacy in America, who’ve taken some action and know they can do more…”

Like you, I think often about how to integrate of racial equity into my work. I know I can do more. 

Here are just two questions I’ve been thinking about lately:

  • How can we make sure our lessons acknowledge the privilege, power-reality, or White dominant culture that impacts the questions and solutions we are offering? I think about a recent curriculum project related to leadership transitions on how “best practice” is falling on its heels as we seek new ways to hire and support diverse people. We ended up by naming White culture as something for boards to understand and wrestle with. Should we be doing that more?
  • How can we proactively support a diverse training corps? Too often topics like finance and fundraising are taught by White consultants or trainers while equity-related topics are taught by people of color. How do we as a sector diversify who teaches “bread and butter” topics so diverse perspectives challenge what people learn? 
Roo Qallaq Ramos

To change how we work, we need a space to work out what that means for ourselves, our organizations, our collaborations, etc. That’s why I invited our colleague Roo Qallaq Ramos to guide our learning and conversation related to racial equity in learning spaces. Roo is Iñupiaq (Alaska Native), an educator, and a nonprofit leader, currently serving as the Executive Director of the Spectrum Center in Spokane, Washington. Roo is a brilliant thinker on all things racial equity and a fierce challenger to the status quo. (For a sneak listen, hop over the Nonprofit Radio Show podcast where we interviewed Roo in 2021). Roo will kick off the Fall Learning Series on September 27.

Topics for “Design Learning Spaces for Racial Equity” include:

Learning strategy
Curriculum & instruction

If you represent an association or larger organization involved in training, let’s talk about how to get your members or team involved. One hunger agency has a team coming, and we are delighted to partner with the Maine Nonprofit Association and the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits.

Each of us can do the work better if we do the work together. Can we count on you joining us for the Fall Learning Series? We hope so!

Published by Nancy

I work at the intersection of learning, nonprofits, and leadership. I am a teacher, instructional designer, and nonprofit person who has worn every hat possible. I regular write, speak, and consult on learning strategy, design, and leadership.

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