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 third update since publishing our Racial Justice Accountability Statement and committing to sharing regular ongoing updates in pursuit of integrating our DEIJ goals with our work, and it covers the internal work, action steps, and conversations we’ve engaged in between January and March 2022.
The Gather team continued our exploration of lay leaders, organizations, initiatives, and affinity groups led by and/or serving Jews of Color, both locally and nationally. Since our work in the final months of last year, we have made significant headway on our community landscape mapping. Although these efforts will never be complete as the places, spaces, and people in our communities are always evolving and expanding, we have collated enough knowledge and resources to more meaningfully activate our partnerships with the organizations and colleagues supporting Jews of Color. Gather has begun engaging with these partners to expand our team’s knowledge and capacities as connectors for Jewish 20s and 30s of all identities and backgrounds.
We will continue to build our knowledge of and relationships with existing communities and community spaces that serve JOC. We are also building upon our discovery process to reach and reach out to more community members who identify as JOC to more directly, effectively, and holistically support them on their Jewish journeys.
The full Gather team completed the workshop series Building Racial Stamina that we began in the final quarter of 2021 with Transform for Equity, a local consulting firm that builds the capacity of organizations to make strides towards individual, institutional, and systemic antiracist impact.
Managers from each departmental team also received individualized one-on-one coaching from workshop leader Dr. Deitra Reiser, helping us scale Gather’s antiracist work on concrete and departmental levels. These areas included operations and HR—our hiring process, employee handbook, and organizational policies—and our engagement and community models, including how we conduct our community asset mapping. Dr. Reiser reviewed these aspects of our work and made recommendations, which teams will be implementing over time.
Gather will take the organizational policy recommendations and implement them to ensure our organization is supporting staff and community members equitably. The next quarter will also focus heavily on auditing our educational curriculum. Longer term, department managers will continue to evaluate our processes, engagement strategy, and experience content to ensure they are equitable and antiracist, particularly as Gather continues to grow.
In order for Gather’s DEIJ work to be effective, we understand the necessity of taking access and inclusion into account as we support community members with multiple, intersecting marginalized identities. This quarter, the Gather team began developing internal accessibility and disability inclusion guidelines. These include a Disability Language Guide, which will help our engagement team more fully support community members with disabilities, and an Accessible and Inclusive Space Guide & Checklist, which will guide the engagement team in selecting spaces to host experiences that meet ADA Accessibility Standards and allow us to meet the access needs of all community members.
We will finalize our internal guides (with a plan to audit and update them on a regular basis). We are also exploring options for continued learning on disability inclusion.