DC Appleseed’s Recommitment
to Racial Equity
For 29 years, DC Appleseed has focused on issues that touch nearly every aspect of public life in the District and especially impact historically marginalized people who live and work in the nation’s capital. Such issues include health and education, environment, governance and DC democracy, workforce development, federal funding, and housing.
In 2017, DC Appleseed began an initiative to become more intentional about addressing the racial inequities that permeate society, contributing to problems and limiting solutions. With funding from the Meyer Foundation, DC Appleseed’s Board and staff worked with a racial equity consultant to develop the components of a Racial Equity Strategic Plan and formed a Standing Committee on Racial Equity (“Standing Committee”). The Standing Committee is charged with developing processes to ensure that awareness of racial equity infuses every aspect of our work, from the selection of projects, to how we conduct research and formulate policy proposals, to staff hiring and Board composition.
We understand that the solutions to DC’s problems must acknowledge how racial bias has shaped policy and allowed inequities to persist and worsen – and we are committed to operationalizing this understanding. We have revised our project proposal process to explicitly explore the racial equity dimensions of every project under consideration. We have established a collaborative project review process that uses guiding questions to help each project team disrupt their personal and collective, conscious or unconscious biases. Each project is called on to refocus its data and fact-gathering to inform a clearer understanding of the racial inequities and biases that contribute to the problem and inform how to address it.
We are now in the process of convening a Racial Equity Advisory Council comprised of community members who can bring their lived experience and additional insights to our understanding of the racial inequities and biases behind the issues our projects seek to resolve. With insights from the Racial Equity Advisory Council, we will ask each project to articulate how the policy remedies we propose address racial inequity and to measure each project’s success, in significant part, by how it improves the well-being of people who have been racially marginalized.
We expect our strong recommitment to racial equity will infuse every aspect of our work, from long-range planning to day-to-day operations. Please visit again to see our journey.