Prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at CVNM

 By: Antonio Maestas, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator

CVNM is proud to announce that we are entering the next phase of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) process. We first launched our DEI

CVNM & CVNM Education Fund board members and staff discuss revisions to the bylaws at an organizational retreat in March 2020

process in the spring of 2017 to solidify our growing commitment to equity and inclusion with facilitator Everette Hill, founder of Social Innovations Strategies Group. We invite our larger CVNM family of members and supporters to join us in our ongoing efforts.

To date, we have completed five phases of this work:

1.) Organizational and community stakeholder assessments on racial equity

2.) Racial justice and equity workshops

3.) Creation of the first dedicated Diversity, Equity and Inclusion staff position in the LCV Network

4.) Concrete anti-racism onboarding material for new staff hires

5.) Adoption of new organizational governing by-laws to institutionally solidify our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

This process began with our board and staff forming an internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. Its assessmentwas distributed to board and staff in the spring of 2018 as a blueprint for our work. This survey measured organizational consciousness around the understanding of institutional and structural racism, CVNM’s climate and culture, equity around community collaboration, and staff composition and satisfaction. The survey outcomes highlighted and shaped our racial justice focus areas.

In tandem, we conducted interviews with community members, previous board members, donors, organizers, and community advocates to understand the external perspectives of our process. This allowed us to evaluate and implement feedback from stakeholders.

Upon receiving this feedback, we felt it was vital to participate in a two-day intensive anti-racism workshop with a group called Race Forward. In this training, our board and staff explored racism’s complexities in our societal structures. We held a pointed, guided, and intentional discussion around race relations within our organization. This information motivated CVNM to commit to making institutional changes in our governing processes, like our bylaws. 

CVNM also created a full-time Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion staff position to guide our DEI process, and help reshape internal processes. Thanks to this work, we now have a new onboarding process that is informed by an anti-racism framework. This includes tools that support inclusive culture, implementing equity in staff positions, and understanding the colonial history of the environmental movement.

The integration of these phases have led to the adoption of new governing bylaws that reflect our organizational commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Most importantly, this action ensures that our process extends to a structural and institutional commitment to equity.

The next phase in our work will be to cement diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values in CVNM’s organizational culture. We are currently working on integrating DEI in all areas and departments of the organization and are excited to continue our process in the upcoming year. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about our ongoing DEI initiatives.

 

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