We must prioritize racial equity to achieve our mission
Child First Authority, Inc., understands racial equity to mean “the condition where a person’s racial identity does not influence how they fare in society.” We know that one’s racial identity intersects with other factors, so to this definition, we add place, gender, sexuality, learning differences, English language proficiency, and financial resources. While these factors should not influence the potential of the youth who live in Baltimore City, they often do. Child First Authority grounds its work in a model that builds on the assets of each youth and family. Yet, we operate in an environment shaped by structural racism and systemic oppression that has deep, pervasive, and historical roots.
Equity has been a long-standing principle of Child First’s work, and we believe that achieving our mission requires more intentionality and focus to prioritize racial equity in all of our work.
Our values anchor our racial equity perspective.
We believe racial equity starts with the active decisions we make within our organization, schools, and programs.
We believe our four core values ground our racial equity approach and are fundamental to fulfilling our mission.
Our Core Values:
Results: We believe our approach to our work gets results. Our commitment to youth, families, schools, and communities demands that we produce the highest quality programs that enable positive changes and achieve results.
Relationships: We build relationships and cultivate our community. Our actions remain purposeful in order to demand resources for youth and their families in Baltimore.
Respect and humility: We approach others respectfully because we believe in and value their contributions. We value others’ perspectives even when different than our own and we have high expectations of what youth and families can contribute because of our mutual relationships.
Responsibility: We do our best in all that we take on. We assume ownership for producing the best possible results in our areas of work. We acknowledge that we do not always have the answers to every question but will always strive to produce results and accept responsibility for all outcomes.
Grounded in these values, we commit to incorporating a racial equity perspective into our everyday work that calls out structural racism and systemic oppression.
We will continue to educate ourselves on the different situations that youth and families experience and incorporate that reality into classrooms, programs, and practices.
Without this explicit commitment, we believe that we cannot achieve our mission.
Our racial equity work in the year ahead
In the coming year, Child First Authority commits to examining how our practices and systems unintentionally reinforce systemic oppression in the experiences of youth and families. We will actively work to disrupt harmful behaviors and dismantle inequitable policies by taking the following actions:
- We will continue to make space for ongoing staff discussions for teaching and learning about systemic oppression together.
- We will create a space for reflection and critique to help our organization do its work better.
- We will engage in professional development, training, and facilitated discussions that empower us to undo racism.
- We will review our hiring, promotion, and retention practices.
- We will dedicate time in our annual board retreat and board meetings to discuss where Child First Authority is in its racial equity journey and identify opportunities for deeper board learning.
- We will be intentional in supporting our partnerships. We will prioritize those whose values and practices align with our values relevant to racial equity.
Child First Authority understands that racial equity as a practice is a work in progress. We will hold ourselves accountable to live our values, fulfill our commitments, and carry out the actions we have identified for the upcoming year.
We invite our youth, families, and partners to hold us accountable for our plans.
 Adapted from “racial equity” definition from Equity in the Center, “Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Racial Equity Culture”.
 Structural racism in this context refers to a system in which public policies and institutional practices work in ways that reinforce racial inequities, adapted from the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change.
 Systematic oppression refers to the ways in which history, culture, ideology, public policies, institutional practices, and personal behaviors interact to form a hierarchy — based on race, class, gender, sexuality, and other group identities– that allow the privileges associated with the dominant group and the disadvantages associated with the marginalized group to endure and adapt over time.
Source: OpenSource Leadership