An update on our anti-racism initiatives
In a previous post, we shared Huck House’s anti-racism statement. We wrote it in June 2020, during a summer of nationwide protests for racial equity and justice. We followed our statement by writing five initiatives we would work on for at least the next year. It’s been eight months. As Black History Month comes to a close, this is an update on the progress we’ve made.
- We will work to optimize agency interactions with police.
- We will educate our staff about our clients’ rights when interacting with law enforcement officers.
- We will seek ways to educate the police officers with whom we interact about our programs and our clients.
- Update: This work group has successfully established relationships with CPD liaisons in the neighborhoods we serve. Beginning in March, “The ABC’s of Policing” will be offered to Huck House staff, and hopefully youth soon after. Huck House staff and CPD officers are excited to be working in a more collaborative way to keep our youth safe.
- We will work to resolve the under-representation of racial and ethnic minority staff in professional, managerial and directorial roles.
- We will examine our recruiting practices.
- We will create a professional development program that ensures every employee experiences professional growth and preparation for the next stage in their career.
- Update: This work group has surveyed staff to get feedback on current recruitment and professional development practices. Our FY2022 budget will include an increase for professional development programs.
- We will engage in agency-wide conversations about racism, with a goal of learning at every level of the organization from client youth to directors.
- Update: The Management Team participated in a facilitated dialog about racial recognition in July. The presenter, LaShaun Carter, also led a social constructs training for our board of directors in November. The cultural competency committee, which is tasked with providing in-house training opportunities for staff, has hosted monthly brown bag zoom lunches on topics of racism. Most recently, we addressed trust and mistrust of the medical profession and vaccines.
- We will evaluate our benefits program with a goal of providing better benefits to more employees.
- We will work toward offering benefits to part-time staff.
- We will work toward offering better mental health benefits.
- Update: Addressing racism’s role in public health, we offered health benefits to all staff working 25+ hours per week. Additionally, affordable telehealth benefits were offered to all staff.
- We will be intentional about hiring black owned businesses for contract work.
- Update: We have contracted with a Black owned small business for pest management at all of our properties. We hired a Black female owned tree service to trim trees and bushes at our Kenmore Square property. All landscape maintenance at Kenmore Square has been contracted with a Black owned business.
In addition to the management team’s initiatives, our board of directors set two anti-racism goals for the current fiscal year:
- 25% of new hires and 25% of promotions will reflect the population we serve. An update is forthcoming.
- 75% of new board members will reflect the population we serve. Two new Black board members have joined since June.
In meetings of teams, managers and directors, and the board, we are learning and growing together. Most importantly we are changing the way we think and talk about race as an organization. Our commitment remains strong. We expect more.