RAALP: Sharpening our Equity Lens Welcome, in this module we are going to be focused on “Sharpening our Equity Lens”. In the following slides you will be learning more about what this means, and why it is important to have equity in mind in our tutoring practices. This module was developed by Prospera Partners, a systems change-minded, social impact consultancy.
Slide 2: Our goal? By centering equity in our work, we actively generate inclusive spaces for all to learn in a safe and supported environment. But before we can create these spaces, we must understand what equity is. UC Berkeley’s Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity defines equity as: the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement while striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups
Slide 3: WORKSHEET 1 Now that we have a definition of equity to work from, we want to build our understanding. This next section is an opportunity to sit with the definition and a few questions that will help both you and us with our understanding of equity and why it is important. Reflecting on the definition we shared, along with your personal experience, please answer the following questions. We encourage you to collect your initial responses in a 5 minutes reflection. Set a timer if that is helpful to you. After this module we encourage you to look back at your responses to see if anything needs to be added. The questions we are asking you are: When was the first time you became aware of the concept of equity? This can be in your lived experience, in your work, in school. Did this look different in different spaces? What does equity mean to you? How do you see an equity lens supporting your tutoring skills? Please pause for 5 minutes to take time with these questions.
Slide 4: We know what equity can look like for us as individuals. In thinking of our work with others, it is important to think of equity in practice. We use community agreements as one way to embody equity as we are working with others. Often in our work with others, we start with sharing our community agreements. After sharing, there is a group consensus, understanding we have co-created these shared agreements. We also want to remind you that our work must also be a flexible and emergent process. This means that the community agreements can shift with the needs of the group. We encourage you to leave space to see if this is needed. For example, we might include a reminder to “Resource yourself as needed.” Sometimes in meetings we forget that it’s ok to take a minute to drink some water or eat a snack. Sometimes our schedules are busy, and knowing it’s ok to resource yourself, makes the space more comfortable.
The agreements we have here are a great starting point we use often in our work: All voices heard and respectedKeeping in mind the acronym WAIT - Why Am I Talking? Why Aren’t I Talking? Which encourages the next agreement to,Practice Active listening:We are seeking to understand, not just to respondWe must also exercise compassion and empathyLastly, we want to understand accessibility, check-in with each other. Are there any additional needs that must be met? This might shift with each meeting. It is a great practice to start each session with a brief needs check in.
Slide 5: DEI PDF Now that we have created a stronger container for understanding equity and how to generate a supportive environment, we want to touch on the larger motivation of developing an understanding of what is possible when we generate inclusive spaces that are not driven by white dominant culture. In this next section we are going to have you take time to read through a piece called:
White Dominant Culture & Tools for Something Different “We all have culture which we express in observable ways, how we interact, what we value andhold to be true. No culture is better than another. As lovers of freedom and justice, we can aimto create inclusive spaces where we all can bring our best and highest selves. At the same time,we can be mindful of how our environments impede our ability to unleash our unlimited potential.” Please pause for 10 minutes to take to read through the pdf “White Dominant Culture & Tools for Something Different”
Slide 6: WORKSHEET 2 Now that you have read the document on “White Dominant Culture and Tools for something different” we want you to reflect on what this means, and how it shows up for us, again both as individuals and in our work. In this next section we will ask you to take another 5 minutes to reflect on the following questions: What is coming up for you when you are reading? Can you identify examples of white dominant culture in the workplace or in a school environment?In the examples you identified, imagine how this could be more equitable. What would be done differently? Where do you already see examples of equitable practices? Please pause here to reflect on these questions. It is important to recognize that white dominant culture goes beyond race understanding we have complexity in our identities, also known as intersectionality. Intersectionality is an analytical framework for understanding how aspects of a person's social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege. The term was conceptualized and coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. We want you to reflect on your personal experience through ADDRESSING factors. Pamela Hays developed the ADDRESSING factors to understand our intersectionality. Please take the first 3 minutes of reflection to write down your own ADDRESSING factors: Age, Developmental Disabilities (acquired at birth or in childhood), Disabilities (acquired later in life), Religion and Spiritual Orientation, Ethnic & Racial Identity, Socioeconomic Status, Sexual Orientation,Indigenous Heritage, National Origin, Gender Identity. Have you considered the intersectionality of your experience before this activity? Has this shifted your understanding of inclusive spaces? Please an additional 2 minutes now to sit with these questions and anything else that is coming up for you. Like the other reflection, we encourage you to revisit after the module to see if you would like to elaborate or add to any of your responses.
Slide 7: Now that we have increased our understanding of intersectionality, this is applied through our understanding of our power. “A relational force, not a fixed entity, that operates in all interactions. While it can be oppressive, power can also be enabling” By understanding our power we enter our work with a larger self-awareness. For example, an able bodied, white presenting, cis, straight, Christian man will often enter a space at a higer perception of power. Especially considering many environments are rooted in that understanding. Where someone who does not fit the same identities may not be able to hold or access the same power in white space. We can peel back another layer, understanding these dynamics that enter spaces when we examine: Intent vs. Impact - this distinction is an integral part of inclusive environments; intent is what a person meant to do, and impact is the effect it had on someone else. Regardless of intent, it is imperative to recognize how behaviors, language, actions, etc. affect or influence other people. An examination of what was said or done and how it was received is the focus, not necessarily what was intended. Keeping these concepts in mind in our sessions, we will co-create spaces that are inclusive, and self-aware, creating the strongest container for being supported in learning.
Slide 8: (5 min) :53So, how do we do this? There are many ways that we are able to center equity. One of these strategies is by actively unlearning, “discarding something learned, especially a bad habit or false or outdated information” This is not to harp on the negative, in fact: “The power of unlearning relies on embracing our self-curiosity and navigating the buildings and streets of our inner world. Mindfully embarking on this self-journey and deciding what stays, what goes, what needs to be renovated, what needs to make space for the emotional garden that is living an authentic life . Because our most authentic selves can't bloom if we don't make space. And, sometimes, making space means saying "no" to what no longer works. Sometimes, making space means grieving the life we had, what we have believed, what we thought was the "only" way things worked.” (Psychology Today) Which leads us to….
Slide 9: Actively Prioritizing. By unlearning unhealthy, or harmful narratives we are then able to prioritize and center tools of equity. These include tools such as cultural competence, inclusive language, and micro-affirmations. This also means increasing our tolerance threshold, our acceptance and open-mindedness to different practices, attitudes, and cultures. This does not necessarily mean agreement with the differences, but acceptance for what is. Knowing our intersectional identities, and increasing our tolerance, we can embrace the power and beauty of learning environments that are created when we have spaces that are centered in equity. I also want to take a minute to ask you to pause and breathe. We are covering topics that carry a heavy weight. Each of these terms will sit with us differently as individuals. Are your walls coming up? Are you feeling an emotional response? Prioritize a journaling practice, meditation, or other reflective tool when you feel this tension bubble up. Strengthening our ability to examine these challenging topics, increases our tolerance and collective resilience. Please Pause here for 2 minutes to pay attention to your breath. To sit with what has been taught today, and to give yourself gratitude for showing up to this work. Today we have given you a lot to process. As stated in the module, we encourage you to take additional time with the reflections as needed. These are learnings that stick with us long-term.
Slide 10: We want to end with a reminder that the work is emergent, continuous, and evolving. Requiring an increased tolerance threshold and ongoing education. Thank you for taking the time today to do this important work. We’ve included a glossary of terms for you to keep in mind as you work with the Rio Arriba Adult Literacy program. Remember that an ongoing journaling and reflection practice is a helpful tool as we sit with these concepts that can be new and sometimes challenging.