new report from Equity in the Center illustrates how organizations can achieve race equity by making specific changes to practice, policy, and culture including increased representation, a stronger culture of inclusion, and the application of a race equity lens to how organizations and programs operate. Designed as a practical guide, Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture provides insights, tactics, and practices social sector organizations can and have used to shift organizational culture, operationalize equity, and establish a Race Equity Culture.

The report recognizes that all organizations are at different stages on their equity journey and presents the Race Equity Cycle as a way to track and build an organization’s maturity by activating specific levers outlined in the report. The stages in the Race Equity Cycle are:

  • The AWAKE stage. Organizations are focused on people and on building a workforce and boards comprised of individuals from different race backgrounds. The primary goal is representation, with efforts aimed at increasing the number of people of different race backgrounds.
  • The WOKE stage. Organizations are focused on culture and on creating an environment where everyone is comfortable sharing their experiences, and everyone is equipped to talk about race equity and inequities. The primary goal is inclusion and internal change in behaviors, policies, and practices.
  • The WORK stage. Organizations are focused on systems to improve race equity. The primary goal is integration of a race equity lens into all aspects of an organization. This involves internal and external systems change and regularly administering a race equity assessment to evaluate processes, programs, and operations

Use this report to assess your organization’s position on the Race Equity Cycle and identify specific action steps to advance equity. For organizations just beginning, the report outlines concrete first steps.

Alliance librarian Liz Caldwell contributed to the report by serving on a working group, and Emily Merritt, director of intergenerational initiatives at the Alliance, and Claude Robinson, executive vice president of external affairs at Alliance member UCAN in Chicago, serve on Equity in the Center’s advisory committee.

Access the full report online.

Gain access to a community of peers working to advance equity in their own communities and organizations by joining the Alliance Peer Exchange group. Members of the group can ask questions, share ideas, and get feedback from others in the Alliance.