We engage in equity work with the goal of ensuring high-quality outcomes for students and staff across identities (race, gender identity, socioeconomic status, immigration status, etc). Our organization built traditions and expected outcomes while serving homogenous populations, mainly white males, until about 20 years ago. Through an equity-focused strategic process, we are working to update and evolve these traditions and outcomes to better serve students and staff from all backgrounds. In 2019, OBCA served around 47% female-identifying students, 44% male-identifying, and 7% genderqueer or those who declined to comment. OBCA also served a more racially diverse student population in 2019 (25% Latinx, 13% Asian or Asian American, 9% Black, and 36% White).
We do this by:
Examining implicit bias at all levels of programming and administrative practices
Co-creating an evolving culture that is inclusive of the diverse voices and experiences within our community
Listening to the experiences and needs of our students, partners, staff, donors and other stakeholders
Giving each staff member and student agency to create a space where they and others are fully able to express themselves in a respectful and inclusive way
OBCA has created these guidelines to take responsibility for the historical and recent harm that our practices may have caused to those who hold non-dominant identities in our community. We hold ourselves accountable as we learn to be an anti-racist and equitable organization, while humbly acknowledging the work that is yet to be done and our shortcomings. We invite our community to engage in our evolving and learning anti-racist community. For these reasons, we invite you to read our stance regarding the Black Lives Matter movement here.
Some Current Actions We Are Taking:
We are partnering with external consultants to lead a strategic alignment process that centers equity, unifies staff, addressing ongoing internal challenges and conflicts, engages board and staff around a clear strategic direction, and provides clarity and alignment regarding the organizational mission, vision, values, and who OBCA serves
As we build our annual budget, we are taking compensation structure, resource allocation, and program delivery into consideration to ensure equitable allocations. Our primary focus continues to be meeting the needs of students, staff, and stakeholders across identities as we evolve to operate in a climate of uncertainty driven by the impacts of the COVID pandemic and the wildfires across the state of California.
Board Recruitment & Major Giving:
Our Board’s Governance Committee is focused on the recruitment of racially diverse board members. We have welcomed two new board members who are people of color and have a goal of onboarding 2-3 more by the end of 2021. We are also working to expand our pool of major donors with an external fundraising consultant. As an organization, our donors are our least racially diverse constituent group, yet we serve 75% students of color in the Bay Area.
We acknowledge the differing experiences of folks across identities in our community. OBCA engages in community dialogues to support staff in being culturally relevant and responsive to the diverse identities of the students we serve. We create opportunities for our staff to have courageous conversations in which we can learn together and hold one another accountable for our evolution both individually, and as an organization.
Staff and Board Training:
We will continue to provide ongoing training opportunities for staff and board members through a combination of external equity consultants and internal-led sessions.
OBCA is committed to being an anti-racist organization and building a community of staff and board that represent California who can bring their full selves to this work while supporting our students to do the same. We know this will lead to more lasting impacts for our students and the community. If you have questions about this work, please contact us here.
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