Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In an effort to answer your questions, we developed a comprehensive list divided into four themes below. If you have a question that is not answered by this list, please email us.

What & Why

 What is Equity Alliance of the North Coast (Equity Alliance) aiming to achieve?

  • To encourage a community-wide understanding of how to involve groups of people who have been excluded from opportunities due to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and/or social or economic status;
  • To help interested institutions, organizations, and businesses become more inclusive toward marginalized groups, who currently experience exclusion when it comes to access;
  • To help individuals and organizations understand the information and methods used to create a society where we can all actively and fully participate, regardless of status.

Why is this important here and why now?

  • For several years, researchers, the Humboldt Area Foundation, and other partners have watched the growth in diversity of our schools, public spaces, and institutions of higher education, and have heard concerns and requests for assistance from individuals, governments, nonprofits, and businesses to help these sectors adjust their understanding, attitudes, policies and practices to welcome and better support these growing populations.

Why is there an emphasis on race?

  • In Professor john powell and Haas’ analysis, “racialization”, the process of placing importance on racial associations or categories, is the ultimate and most prevalent way exclusion happens. When our institutions exclude others based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, or disability; structurally they are generally similar to the exclusions that happen when using racial categories. For this reason, participants in the cohorts will draw up a “racial equity” plan for their organizations, as well as metrics and tools for assessing progress, understanding that once this most fundamental aspect of inclusion is understood and addressed, the work with other “outgroups” will be easier. There is a consideration of other outgroups, and a clear focus on the region’s demographic representation of Native Americans and Latinos.

Since the focus is on inclusion, how will the voices of marginalized groups be part of this process?

  • This is an essential element of the process. We will work with local community organizing efforts to intentionally engage marginalized voices. We are in the process of supplementing strategies with our contacts in racial and ethnic minority communities, LGBT, and houseless communities, as well as communities of students and religious minorities.

What outcomes can we expect in our institutions, personal lives, and larger society?

  • Participating organizations will implement tools for assessing their inclusion and reviewing policies and practices, develop strategies to advance equity, and implement a framework for measuring progress towards equity goals;
  • Participants will learn new concepts and vocabulary for speaking about race and equity, methods for communicating the message, and practice in normalizing these conversations;
  • Equity Alliance’s public talks and events will spark a public conversation about race and equity, and will normalize conversations about these topics. They will also help us capture and welcome the talents that diversity is bringing to our communities.

Common Terms & Definitions

 Common terms and their definitions (e.g. belonging/othering, implicit bias):

  • Equality vs. Equity: Equality refers to treating everyone the same way, while equity emphasizes the importance of giving everyone what they need to be successful. The distinction between these two concepts is well represented by an image of the three people of varying heights trying to see a baseball game over a fence.  Equality is the equivalent of giving them all the same height box, while equity would give the shortest one more boxes to be able to achieve the desired outcome of everyone seeing the game.
  • Opportunity Structures: Social, economic and political structures which foster human flourishing, i.e. schools, medical care, culture, financial institutions, etc. To achieve social equity, everyone must have access to these structures.
  • Implicit Bias: Unlike explicit bias (which reflects the attitudes or beliefs that one endorses at a conscious level), implicit bias is the bias in judgment and/or behavior that results from subtle cognitive processes (e.g., implicit attitudes and implicit stereotypes) that often operate at a level below conscious awareness and without intentional control.
  • Institutional racism: Unfair policies and discriminatory practices of particular institutions (schools, workplaces, etc.) that routinely produce racially inequitable outcomes for people of color and advantages for white people. 
  • Structural racism: how history, public policies, institutional practices, and cultural representations interact to maintain racially inequitable outcomes.
  • Racial Anxiety: Refers to discomfort about the experience and potential consequences of inter-racial interactions. It is important to distinguish this definition of racial anxiety from what social scientists refer to as “racial threat,” which includes the anger, frustration, uncertainty, feelings of deprivation and other emotions associated with concern over loss of resources or dominance.
  • Othering and Belonging: Terms Prof. john powell coined to include all the ways different groups are either included in, or excluded from, full participation in shaping our social and economic structures.

Learning Opportunities

What events will the Equity Alliance host?

Equity Alliance of the North Coast is an umbrella for a variety of community efforts addressing issues of race, gender and social equity. Among these are:

  • A public speaking and events series that began in May, 2016 and will continue through early 2018 aimed at informing the general public about the latest research and conceptual thinking on issues of inclusion and race;
  • A coaching series for committed institutions and collaboratives over 18 months beginning in September, 2016. The series will be led by the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE, a joint project of the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society (Haas) and hereafter referred to as the Cohort Training and Coaching Team);
  • A coaching series for smaller organizations, business and community members currently in development; and
  • A series of trainings and workshops hosted by local and national partners that allows for local trainers to gain the skills and tools to continue structured learning opportunities once the 18-month series is over.

Will the Equity Alliance provide coaching to my organization to help us change our practices and policies to be more inclusive of marginalized groups?

  • Yes. For larger institutions and collaboratives, this will be provided through the quarterly cohort training and coaching process.
  • We are currently designing training and coaching processes for smaller organizations, businesses and community members.

How can I get involved?

  • We offer trainings and workshops to learn about racial equity and provide tools to apply that knowledge in a wide variety of situations and contexts.
  • We are developing plans for community engagement based on the interests of participants. 
    Inclusion is characterized by a society’s widely shared social experience and active participation, by a broad equality of opportunities and life chances for individuals and by the achievement of a basic level of well-being for all citizens. - Amartya Sen

    Past Event Information & Additional Resources

    Were you unable to make it to a past event hosted by Equity Alliance of the North Coast? Below are links to video footage of our free past public events, local news articles, the presentation slides used for the talks, and additional information about our partners and guest speakers

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