Reflections on Adopting a Racial Justice Framework for Human Impact Partners

By Lili Farhang

Health Workers in Oakland Protest for Black Lives.

The Genesis of HIP’s Racial Justice Framework

For our individual and collective work as public health practitioners, a racial justice framework is both critical and urgent.

Setting Our Intentions

So, with staff encouragement, we created our racial justice framework in 2018 and more recently have folded it into our new strategic plan. An internal working group helmed the creation of the framework, with significant input from other staff members.

The underlying theories and ideas that we consider central to what it means to be committed to racial justice as an organization:

  • Racism is a system of advantage based on race that maintains power imbalances in our society
  • Power imbalances are at the root of inequities in the social determinants of health, which perpetuate health, social, and political inequities
  • We can’t achieve health equity without doing racial justice work
  • We lead with racial justice explicitly, but not exclusively
  • We incorporate an intersectional analysis into our work and approach
  • We need radical strategies to undo the systemic imbalance of power and privilege

How we hold ourselves accountable to our values:

  • Recognize that racial justice is both an outcome and a process that takes deep and long-term commitment that evolves over time
  • Identify where we have growth areas as an organization around racial justice by creating space for staff to identify growth areas for our projects and our organization
  • Create transparent processes and make room for experimentation on the path to racial justice, with senior leaders embracing ongoing review and iteration of strategy
  • Generate staff-wide accountability to this framework, explicitly look at whether we’re honoring the framework, and determine what it looks like when we hit hard times
  • Promote shared language across the organization, including staff, board, and partners to ensure we are fluent in a common language of racial justice

Organizational practices to institute and deepen in order to reflect racial justice:

  • Advance racial justice through project work and staff self-work
  • Establish norms to routinely engage the head and heart
  • Establish systems for feedback and input
  • Routinely practice organizational self-reflection
  • Support all staff in becoming emergent racial justice leaders
  • Assess decisions and practices through a racial justice lens, including: hiring staff and appointing board members; assigning decision-making power to staff; structuring financial support for partner organizations and consultants

Bringing the power of public health to campaigns and movements for a just society

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