July 14, 2020 — For over 40 years, Family Equality has worked to advance lived and legal equality for LGBTQ+ families and those who wish to form them.
We have also been a predominately white organization, in both our staff leadership and board composition. As such, we believe it is not possible for us to have moved through the world without having caused or perpetuated harm in the form of racism and racist words and actions. We are committed to doing better. And, part of that is to acknowledge this fundamental truth. We cannot hope to do better until we first see who we are and who we have been. We cannot promise to never do harm again and we cannot undo what harm has been inflicted by us or perpetuated by us. What we can do is apologize, listen, learn, grow, and strive to always be better. So, for the harm we have caused we are truly sorry.
To ensure that our intentions are public and clear, and that we prioritize anti-racism as an organization, we have taken tangible steps and are working with internal and external Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) professionals to develop and implement a plan for change. Demonstrating our commitment to this, we signed a letter stating (along with over 100 other LGBTQ and civil rights organizations):
“Many of our organizations have made progress in adopting intersectionality as a core value and have committed to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. But this moment requires that we go further — that we make explicit commitments to embrace anti-racism and end white supremacy, not as necessary corollaries to our mission, but as integral to the objective of full equality for LGBTQ people. We, the undersigned, recognize we cannot remain neutral, nor will awareness substitute for action.”
In an effort to build racial and social justice into our daily work, we have taken some initial steps:
- We have begun a new strategic planning process that will incorporate a commitment to this work through anti-racist strategies and actions, and will include a reimagining of our mission statement to fully embrace this important work;
- We regularly engage with a DEI consultant to guide us in this work. We have formed separate board and staff DEI committees, and budgets for DEI work have been developed;
- We hired a Chief Program Officer with extensive experience in program design and delivery, especially in programs that are intended to reach marginalized members of the LGBTQ+ community;
- Upon reviewing our current staffing structure, we reimagined the role of one of our current staff members and have named that person the Director of Family Equity & Diversity, to better ensure our outward-facing services are delivered intentionally and are aligned with outcomes related to racial and social justice;
- We created an anti-racist toolkit for LGBTQ+ families, parents, and children, as part of our National Day of Action in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and will continue to deepen the connections between our program and policy work and anti-racism.
Our immediate next steps (all of which are currently in process):
- As our current CEO transitions out of his role, the Board of Directors sees this transition as an opportunity for deep structural change that can help lead the organization into a new chapter of work with marginalized community members;
- We will complete a new comprehensive DEI plan by the end of 2020 that incorporates racial and social justice work as a core pillar of our efforts;
- We are challenging each of our internal departments to develop work plans that incorporate anti-racist principles and practices; reimagining our important work for LGBTQ+ families to also be about disrupting and dismantling white supremacy.
Please keep check our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Family Equality page as we will update it with new developments.