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 fourth 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 March and June 2022.
The Gather team continues to build our knowledge of and relationships with existing communities, community spaces, and lay leaders that serve Jews of Color (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.
Building upon the work with the Racial Justice Launchpad, Gather continues to work in partnership with other DMV Jewish organizations to learn more about their DEIJ goals and how we can support one another in our efforts to become more equitable, antiracist organizations.
Gather department directors met one-on-one with an external consultant to audit current human resources, organizational policies, and engagement processes to understand how to best support our community through an antiracist lens. We continue to analyze and implement recommendations (misc. language usage, travel reimbursement policy for work-related expenses, flexibility re: vacation/sick time, codifying remote/hybrid policies, improving paid leave policies, more supportive access to benefits for new employees) to ensure our organization is supporting staff and community members equitably.
We have finalized internal guides (with plans to audit and update them on a regular basis) to ensure that the spaces we are hosting our experiences are accessible for all participants—we aim for all happy hours, retreats, or classes hosted by GatherDC to be in fully accessible spaces as defined by the ADA. We are also exploring options for continued learning on disability inclusion, and recently participated in conversations and studies of the accessibility of the DC Jewish community.
As a result of our work thus far, our applicant pool for our Beyond the Tent retreat is the most diverse pool we’ve had since introducing the retreat in 2015. The next quarter will focus heavily on auditing our educational curriculum and processes to address any Ashkenormativity, to ensure a diversity of voices are brought to our learning experiences, and to better equip our facilitators to understand their biases and address any harmful inter-group dynamics.