Takeaways from Race, Power, Privilege & Being a Change Agent

colorful painting of a fist

In late 2020, Clean Yield invited clients to join us for a diversity training series called “Race, Power, Privilege & Being a Change Agent,” hosted by CQ Strategies. We wanted to share this vitally important work with our clients and amplify the impact we could have together. Over five weeks, a group of nearly twenty Clean Yield clients and team members met via Zoom to discuss unconscious bias, institutional racism, and how we could become change agents within our own spheres of influence. We learned a lot by sitting alongside our clients for this work. Here are some of our takeaways:

  • Education is a starting point, not an end point. Dismantling racism will require that we all change our way of thinking and take action at every opportunity.
  • We all have the power to be change agents. We all have spheres of influence and can work for change within them – whether it is as a member of a local community board, as part of a family foundation, or in our neighborhood.
  • Opening your eyes up to seeing racism can be unsettling, even shocking. Some participants felt unmoored or disturbed to learn how pervasive racism is in our society and history – and how it has been out of view for many with white privilege.
  • Vulnerability is essential to growth. We have to be willing to “own” our truths and see the ways in which we contribute to and benefit from structural racism if we want things to change.
  • Failing to take action to address racism is to be complicit in racism.
  • Hard work can happen in a Zoom room. While there is no replacement for sharing physical space, doing this sort of training via Zoom worked better than we expected. We were able to create a safe space in the Zoom room that fostered growth and learning.
  • Keep moving forward. When this work feels hard and overwhelming, it is important to  keep moving forward – read the next article, pick up the next book, have a conversation with a friend about this work. It is our experience that by just moving forward in some way, the next steps become apparent.

As we move ahead in our racial equity and justice work, we are continuing to learn and challenge ourselves through a Clean Yield staff book group. We are also thinking about how we can make right the wrongs that have been done to BIPOC in our community and in this country. This spring, we will be participating in a three-session series with CQ Strategies called “Exploring Reparations.” It will cover the whys and hows of reparations and hopefully help us determine what reparations might look like for us as individuals and Clean Yield. We look forward to updating you as we move ahead in this important work and invite you to reach out to share the work you’re doing!