WhAT we're about
JUST ACTION RACIAL EQUITY COLLABORATIVE is committed to the ongoing racial justice work necessary to abolish racist systems and structures and build equitable ones.
How has systemic and structural racism shaped historical and current events?
How do we shift power to groups that have been historically marginalized or harmed?
How do we respond to storytelling, demographic data, and other opportunities to embrace accountability to outcomes?
JUST ACTION 2021 GOALS
ESTABLISH A WORKING GROUP
Nominated leaders are invited to join a working group as advisors, and to help onboard project coordinators and other collaborators (Dec 2020).
DESIGN COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE
Project coordinators design collaborative processes, meetings, and convenings to build connections and practice accountability (Feb 2021).
Communities of practice contribute ideas and expertise toward building a toolkit and standards, led by a working group of advisors, project coordinators, designers, producers, facilitators, and other collaborators (Jun 2021).
PUBLIC SHARE OUT
Working group publicizes the toolkit and standards (Dec 2021).
HOW DID JUST ACTION COME TO BE?
Just Action was formed shortly after the murder of Minneapolis resident George Floyd in May 2020. In the wake of his death, many organizations, corporations and individuals posted empathetic statements of support for Black and Brown people and communities. Intent aside, the posts often were incongruous with the organizations’ actual practices.
One week later, an email thread between trusted colleagues manifested into a small Zoom meeting “to share space, process, and think through next steps.” The small group of Chicago-based cross-sector leaders slowly expanded over the following weeks, gathering weekly on Zoom, trading emails in-between, sharing concepts and frameworks in Google Slides, and writing collaboratively in Docs. The result, one month later, was a joint equity statement and collaboratively designed theory of change.
Two months later, the eighteen “conveners” of what would soon be known as Just Action Racial Equity Collaborative decided it was time to expand again, sharing the equity statement with friends and family, calling upon employers, staff, board, clients, friends, and family for feedback, to vote on an official name, and the opportunity to sign on to join a racial equity collaborative, community of practice, and co-create standards of accountability for racial equity work in Chicago.
WHO IS QUALIFIED TO JOIN A JUST ACTION COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE?
A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. The only requirement for joining a Just Action community of practice is a readiness and willingness to work together to find equitable solutions for local challenges. Individuals, institutions, community and affinity groups fighting for racial equity, racial justice, and equitable investment in Chicago communities are encouraged to join.
WHAT ARE JUST ACTION'S GUIDING VALUES AND PRINCIPLES?
Just Action is guided by a collective radical imagination inspired by the dreams, words, and legacies of our elders and ancestors, as well as the Black and Brown young people calling for justice in our streets. We are united by a duty and concern for fighting against racism and oppression reproduced by the antiquated, hypocritical systems and institutions in which we work. We are committed to building a world none of us have lived in, but long for. In this world, systems and structures of racial injustice, oppression, and scarcity are dismantled and replaced with joy, cooperation, and abundance.
WHAT IS JUST ACTION'S THEORY OF CHANGE?
Our framework for building racial equity focuses on shifting how power is organized and distributed through three primary channels: Money, Narrative, and Policy.
We believe these three types of civic power have continued to nourish the soil from which systemic racism grows. The ways wealth is accumulated and distributed, narratives are developed and perpetuated, and policies are created will continue to perpetuate racial disparities, until and unless they are fundamentally reimagined.
We believe in building new standards of practice and accountability for civic power holders committed to racial equity. Together with internal reformers and external advocates, we will begin by acknowledging the history of harm resulting from each civic power, reimagine how to shift this power to historically excluded groups, and build mutual accountability across our fields of work.
WHAT'S THE STRUCTURE OF THE JUST ACTION COMMUNITY PRACTICE AND TOOLKIT?
Each Just Action community of practice and toolkit focuses shifting power through one of three primary civic power channels (Money, Narrative, and Policy). Each individual signer may choose their preferred community of practice to be connected with individuals who have selected the same focus area. If you have not yet joined a community of practice, complete the one-question survey here.
Community of Practice Activities for 2021 include:
Spring 2021: Citywide virtual convenings focused on sharing the Just Action Theory of Change, building relationships, setting cultural values and norms.
Summer 2021: Citywide virtual convenings for each Community of Practice (Money, Narrative and Policy) to co-create the 2021 Just Action toolkit and standards of accountability..
Winter 2021: Public share out of toolkit, standards, and any other deliverables.
Ongoing: Communications, including website, social media, and the monthly newsletter.
HOW IS JUST ACTION SIMILAR TO OR DIFFERENT FROM OTHER EQUITY PLEDGES I MAY HAVE SEEN?
We believe the momentum building in our streets must be matched by action to reimagine the civic systems that have created the harms replayed in our social feeds. While many racial equity pledges focus on understanding of internalized and interpersonal racism, our efforts are focused on organizing sector-based accountability for collective systems change. Just Action collaborative is one of countless collectives forged in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and subsequent uprisings. Similar to the organizing and calls for justice in our streets, the conveners of Just Action believe now is the time to make tectonic shifts inside systems and structures that have been designed unjustly. Rather than a statement, a cross-sector collective, steeped in racial justice practices, stepped forward to offer a community of practice and tools to help turn pledges into meaningful action.