By Molly Herrmann, Camp Registrar
Every January at Eagle’s Nest, we hold a staff-wide retreat where each member from among our various programs and departments assemble to learn together, interact with one another, and engage in campus work-crew activities to spruce up campus in anticipation of the incoming OA spring semester students.
This year, we gathered on campus to take part in a training focused on how to recognize racism or inequity in the workplace and then construct strategies to work toward cultivating anti-racism in the workplace. In addition, we took time to contemplate our own individual journeys and experiences with inequity, marginalization, and racism. How it made us feel when we experienced some form of marginalization, and also how we acted when we witnessed an injustice. We asked ourselves if we were a bystander and observed the event of injustice around us, why did we choose to stay silent. How could we have acted in a way that would have supported or advocated for someone else in the moment. Through this we were able to chart our own place within this work, engaging with our past experiences and contemplating the potential for future anti-racist responses and actions informed by our personal journey in this work. These exercises enabled us to envision what anti-racism, or actively working to eliminate racism, looks like for each of us, situating this work in a real-world context.
In breakout groups, based on programs, we used the Five Whys method to identify root causes of inequity or discrimination within our specific programming area or department. With the Five Whys you pose a problem area of inequity and ask why that problem exists. Then ask why in reference to the answer you provided for the first why question, and ask why to that next answer, and so on until you arrive at a root cause. Once you have arrived at the root cause, you can then develop SMART goals to address specifically this root cause. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound. In our groups, we practiced the Five Whys method, uncovered a root cause, and then developed SMART goals to address this root cause. Overall, these exercises allowed us, as groups with relevant knowledge pertaining to our programs, to drill down overarching areas of inequity to a deeper cause that can then be targeted more effectively and realistically. As such, we spent the morning engaged in the work of anti-racism by learning strategies and methods that we can employ to do this work effectively while also bearing in mind our own individual starting points and experiences.
As a group of educators, administrators, leaders, and students we were able to think about concrete ways that we can embrace anti-racism in the work we do. And we left with a commitment to incorporate this work into every aspect of operating our organization.
Interested in learning more about ENF’s work towards Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? Visit this link to learn more.