As we shared in our Antiracist Accountability Statement, GatherDC has committed to sharing timely updates with our community around the work we are doing to more fully integrate a racial equity and justice lens into our leadership and staff structure, organizational policies, communications and marketing, and community engagement.
This is our second update since actively embarking on this work, and it covers the internal work, action steps, and conversations we’ve engaged in between October and the end of 2021.
The Gather team is in the process of an intensive exploration of lay leaders, organizations, initiatives, and affinity groups that are led by and/or serving Jews of Color, from a hyperlocal level to those working on a national scale. This includes deep research and learning about the Jewish professionals, educators, clergy, organizations, and lay leaders who identify as Jews of Color and are building community spaces in which we have previously not been familiar or in relationship with, and reexamining and expanding whose voices, ideas, and commentaries we are connecting people to, highlighting in our media, and including in our educational resources. A key piece of GatherDC’s mission is serving as a central hub of information and resources for connecting our community to Jewish life, people, places, and spaces, and this ongoing project is vital in expanding and informing our team’s abilities as connectors and resources for Jewish 20 and 30-somethings of all identities and backgrounds in the DMV.
Part of our research also involves being in active relationship and communication with our Jewish partner organizations and institutions to learn more about and collaborate on their antiracist commitments and ongoing work. We know no one organization can accomplish this transformative work alone, and we are regularly in touch with our colleagues about our collective antiracist work.
We know we have more to learn and do around building authentic relationships with JOC leaders, especially in the DMV. After we complete this landscape mapping, we will be better equipped to authentically amplify and engage with the full breadth and depth of organizations and individuals serving JOC community members and spaces.
Over the last two months, the full Gather team has been participating in a workshop series called Building Racial Stamina with Transform for Equity, a local consulting firm that builds the capacity of organizations to make strides towards individual, institutional, and systemic antiracist impact. Led by Dr. Deitra Reiser, Building Racial Stamina is a series of intensive workshops with facilitated small group discussions, conversation in chevruta, and solo reflection to build self-awareness of race; illuminate the impact of race in our society, communities, and organizations and institutions; and develop the skills, tools, and mindset to continue and advance antiracist work. Between sessions, we spend time with one-on-one learning partners within the team to individually process and discuss learnings, readings, and reflections in between each session.
Managers from different departments within Gather will receive individualized one-on-one coaching from Dr. Reiser to scale the antiracist work of our organization on a team-by-team basis.
In a commitment to building a more inclusive and safe space for members in the GatherDC community, Gather published a publicly accessible reporting mechanism for any staff or community member to report a hate or bias incident conducted by a Gather staff member, lay leader, community members, or someone with ties to GatherDC. for any staff or community member to report a hate or bias incident conducted by a Gather staff member, lay leader, community members, or someone with ties to GatherDC.
The full Gather team will undergo a restorative justice training specifically focused on appropriately responding to and supporting members through incidents of injustice.
In our last update, we shared some of the work we’ve done operationally, including implementing more equitable hiring practices, incorporating antiracism awareness and competency into our evaluation metrics, and adding an antiracist module to our onboarding process to serve as an introduction and value expectation for all new Gather team members (and to be completed by all current staff, as well). Since that update, we have gone through a full hiring cycle and put these new processes into practice to continue building these values into the fabric of our team and culture.