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Community Change

This website is intended to support individuals and groups who have joined with others to work toward racial justice and equity. While there are many approaches to doing that, one of our assumptions is that your work is very likely to include deliberate efforts to change the conditions in your community for various racial/ethnic groups, by changing existing power relationships, the ways resources are allocated, community decision making processes and the policies and practices of at least some of the organizations and institutions (health care, government, schools, employers, media, etc.) that influence how people fare in this place.

No one can tell you exactly how to go about making the changes you want in your community to create racial equity and racial justice that will endure, and benefit all of the people you want to benefit at a level they can actually feel. That doesn't mean it can't be done - we believe it can, and must. No one can tell you exactly what to do for at least three reasons:

  1. Racial inequities and injustice exist, so we don't actually know what it will take to eliminate them, and eliminate them for good. So you will need to take some chances and risks and try some things differently than have already been tried.
  2. Every place is a little different from everywhere else - while there are some common opportunities and challenges, they play out differently in each place; and
  3. Your work is building on work that has been done in your place in the past. The legacy of previous work shapes your community, and its responses to your efforts. Your work fits into the flow of your community - that flow shapes your work just as your work influences the flow of the community.

Community change usually has several phases - each with its own energy, opportunities and challenges. For example, the kinds of leadership that works when a group is organizing, learning more (assessment) and choosing strategies (planning) is often very different from what is needed when you are putting those plans into action (implementation) and trying to make sure they are deep enough, intense enough and of long enough duration to achieve the goals. The kinds of recruitment, training, and supports you establish - parts of your community change strategies - should fit the phases of the work. This is also true for communication strategies - expectations established by your messages should fit the phase of your work, as should your organizing strategies, institutional and individual change strategies and policy work. Mapping strategies by phases helps you see if this is so.

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