The Alliance for Early Success has launched a new opportunity for state advocacy organizations: a learning and leadership program called Operationalizing Equity. The offering is a six-month collective experience for Alliance state grantees that will help them operationalize strategies to center racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in their work. Cohorts will be comprised of six to eight organizations with each organization bringing a team of three leaders, including the executive director.
Informed by input from state grantees, the design of Operationalizing Equity will support a small community of practice to develop shared understanding, knowledge and skills while addressing the unique needs and contexts of each state-based team through customized individual supports provided by the planning team members.
More than toolkits and checklists, state teams will have opportunities to:
- Gain understanding for where individual state groups are at in their racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion journey and develop a workplan to guide state-specific organization work;
- Use facilitated sessions to deepen relationships within cohort to support ongoing work together;
- Gain skills and tools for practical application to center racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in policy pursuits;
- Gain skills and tools for practical application to build shared language, develop meaningful allyship and authentic partnership;
- Gain knowledge and skills to engage broad audiences on topics like racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion; and
- Develop practical applications of skills and strategies to take back to full state teams.
The state teams participating in the first cohort of Operationalizing Equity are from Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin. Alliance grantees from all 50 states ultimately will have the opportunity to participate.
“When fully deployed, Operationalizing Equity will establish capacity in all 50 states for powerful, equity-centered advocacy,” says Helene Stebbins, Executive Director of the Alliance, “laying the foundation necessary to achieve transformative policy change.”
The multi-racial planning team working to support the first cohort will include: Child Trends on collecting, disaggregating, and effectively communicating about data; Migration Policy Institute on understanding and supporting immigrant and refugee communities; Center for Law and Social Policy on centering policy development around racial justice and equity; and TOPOS Partnership on effectively communicating all of this. Annie McKay will lead the community — organizing sessions, supporting the planning team, and following-up with each state team — to establish a space where everyone is able to bring vulnerability and courage to share challenges, needs, make mistakes, and learn together.
After teams complete the cohort experience they will have opportunities to continue deepening their work with periodic check-ins and facilitated learning opportunities through a community of practice.
Operationalizing Equity is part of the Alliance’s new Power Equity Initiative — a broad multi-component strategy to align the organization’s investments and influence in support of collective power in state advocacy. The initiative includes new work in developing the skills to center racial equity, value lived experience, nurture coalitions, and build community-based advocacy capacity.