What do we do after using this tool?
Organizations using the assessment should develop and implement a communications plan for how you will share back your results to stakeholders both internally and externally. This is part of being accountable. How you communicate back results requires thought, as historically communication between organizations and the communities they work with has often been problematic and caused harm.
Using this tool needs to lead to action. Using the tool does not equate to you checking a box for your organization’s racial equity work, and this assessment is merely a piece of your journey as an organization committed to this work that has no end date. Take the information you have collected through the assessment process and use it to help guide your next steps and actions.
HOW DO WE USE IT?
The assessment is designed to be completed one pillar at a time, starting with the first pillar (Acknowledge History). There is no option to save, so you must complete all sections of that pillar at once. Reflect as a group and answer all items including the open-ended questions as a group. The information collected in the assessment will be used to help guide you to resources most relevant to where your organization is in its journey. Upon completion of each pillar, an email will be generated to the lead with results and a survey about the experience. The same will apply to the external portion of the assessment.
In answering open-ended questions, we encourage you to be honest with where you are at - only when you have a clear understanding of where you are, can you move toward where you want to be. The lead can and should consider the organizational culture and whether vehicles that allow anonymous responses may be better suited in some cases, versus open focus groups or even one on ones.
The group should use five finger consensus to reach consensus on each response. This process involves discussion around what response to give an item, and once a response is proposed, then all members of the group will show one to five fingers for their level of agreement with the response. If there are any who give a two or one, the group should proceed with the proposed response and discussion must continue until another vote is taken where all group members give a three or above to show agreement with the proposed response.
5 = I strongly agree
4 = I agree
3 = I will go with the group’s decision
2 = I disagree
1= I strongly disagree
Before completing the assessment, groups who may not have used consensus or group agreements before should have a conversation about values and/or setting group agreements to get everyone on the same page prior to using five finger consensus.
Setting group agreements and/or values can be key to an inclusive process and developing a shared understanding of how the group agrees to interact with one another, especially when discussing difficult topics. Begin by brainstorming ways you want to feel when leaving meetings or brainstorming how you want to interact with each other. Examples of group agreements include: listen to understand, be transparent about who we’re centering, acknowledge your power and privilege, use “I” statements, etc. The possibilities are endless and agreements will be unique to each group as different things will resonate with different groups. Once a list has been brainstormed, you can use five finger consensus to agree to adopt the group agreements. Remember, these group agreements can be revisited and revised at any point throughout the assessment process.
You will likely need assigned roles during the sessions where you complete the assessment. This will at minimum require a facilitator, which will likely be the lead(s) on this, as well as a documenter who will be capturing everything in the assessment as well as additional notes. A timekeeper and other roles may also be helpful.
Qualitative data is incredibly important, particularly as it has historically been undervalued in a white supremacist society that values stories less than numbers. While completing this assessment, consider using a variety of methods of collecting information from stakeholders both within and outside of your organization. This can take the form of surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.
Completing this assessment can be traumatizing for individuals and groups that have been harmed by the organization and the sector that the organization is part of. A component of community care should be integrated into the process of completing the assessment. This can look like many different things, such as practicing self-care and self-compassion, completing this with a trusted person who can support you as you navigate this toolkit, carving out time to breathe and process, and writing down feelings as they come up. Additionally, accessing resources that can provide healing support through this process is highly recommended.
We recognize organizations will have varying degrees of staff capacity dedicated to owning and leading racial equity and justice work. We recommend a minimum of 1-2 (or more depending on the size of the organization) people within the organization that is named as the lead for this work who as a result has a direct reporting relationship with the head of the organization about this work, and has complete authority to execute the necessary work towards these goals. We recommend the lead(s) be a Black, Indigenous, or other person of color (BIPOC) individual in the organization, and that they be freed up from some of their other responsibilities to allow them bandwidth to execute the work with integrity within the organization and with external stakeholders.
With a lead(s) for this work in place, they should coordinate and meet with a group to complete the internal component of the assessment tool. There should be at least one member from the organization’s leadership (such as an executive leader or board member) and the rest should include a diverse set of people from within the organization including by position level, race/ethnicity, and other identities. The lead(s) help coordinate research, reflection and relationship-building within and beyond the organization.
If your organization currently does not have an A-team, you will still be able to fully complete this assessment, but will need to work on establishing an A-team. One possibility is to view the list of Just Action signers and connect with them as peers to help hold you accountable, while you work to develop an A-team.
Guidance for completing the INTERNAL Assessment
how was this assessment tool developed?
This assessment tool was developed by adapting existing resources, conversations with Just Action working group members and Just Action Community of Practice Members, and vetting and approval by the Just Action Accountability team.