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.

Prof. john powell mostly spoke (in early May) about the need for intentional “inclusion” of numerous outgroups in our society due to unconscious behavior and neuroscience research that shows the way we do so. Will the Equity Alliance focus on this generally?

  • Yes, and it will also have a special focus on race (“racialization”).

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):

  • Targeted Universalism: In its simplest definition, targeted universalism alters the usual approach of universal strategies (policies that make no distinctions among citizens’ status, such as universal health care) to achieve universal goals (improved health), and instead suggests we use targeted strategies to reach universal goals.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • Equality vs. Equity: Was well represented by the picture of the three tall and short people trying to see a baseball game over a fence.  Equality is the equivalent of giving them all the same height box, equity would give the shortest one more boxes 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. powell speaks of improving society by making access to these structures for everyone a critical element in reforming our society.

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. Amongst 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.

What is the cost of these various events?

While we are still seeking to fully raise funds to support this process for those eager to participate but lacking the financial means, currently:

  • Speaking events will be free and open to the public, with donations accepted;
  • Cohort team costs are $7,500 for the 18-month series and individual participation in the cohorts will be $1,500; and
  • Other participation opportunities under development will be priced according to costs and the ability to complement with grants and other subsidies.

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, however, a modified cohort process is possible.

What is a cohort and how does it fit in to the Equity Alliance’s desired outcomes?

  • A cohort is a learning group consisting of teams of 2-10 people, within one organization or a collaborative working on common goals, who move together through a process. This process will include both examining their effectiveness in achieving equitable and inclusive outcomes; and adjusting current policies and practices for more equitable outcomes.
  • Equity Alliance of the North Coast is exploring the idea of dividing the cohorts into two learning tiers:
    • One that is appropriate for large institutions, government, and large nonprofits or collaborative groups that will be led by the Cohort Training and Coaching Team. These cohorts will learn the skills and gain the support needed to promote change in their home institution(s).
    • The second will rely on combined local and national partner resources to focus on an intermediate level of learning or engagement and will not be coached by the Cohort Training and Coaching Team.

Will each cohort receive coaching?

  • Yes. The Cohort Training and Coaching Team is equipped to provide coaching to all of the cohorts and connect them with national resources and their local peers.
  • For those not being coached, we are currently developing the process for helping them move forward.

What is the curriculum/what kind of topics will be studied/explored?

  • The Cohort Training and Coaching Team is committed to a process that will involve cohort participants in co-designing both the curriculum and the racial equity plans for each cohort. There are basic concepts they have found to be fundamental.

How much time will this require of participants in cohorts throughout the coaching series?

  • The cohorts will meet together quarterly for a full day over 18 months (six sessions) with mid-quarter check-ins by phone (about 2 hours). Each quarterly session will require homework to be carried out before the next. A rough approximation would be 48 hours of meetings (over 18 months), 12 hours for check-in calls (over 18 months), and 8-10 hours per month in each organization for assessment, development and implementation of equity plans;
  • For those participating in the public events, they may choose from the eight-plus events currently being scheduled; and
  • Plans for those not being coached by the Cohort Training and Coaching Team, opportunities are in development, and will be less demanding.

How can I get involved, if not in a cohort?

  • We are developing plans for community engagement based on the interests of participants. Likely, interest-based groups would be self- running with Humboldt Area Foundation staff support. There are plans to start convening this summer.

How will this help me in my individual learning and conversations about inclusion?

  • The emphasis with learning cohorts of all types will be on practice. First, practice with cohort peers, within organizations, and practice in the larger social arena. Along with tested concepts that make talking about inclusion more comfortable will come skills training to help participants introduce the topic, respond to those not usually inclined to be supportive and see and identify systemic bias issues in workplaces.

    About Partners

    How do we know any of this will do any good?

    • GARE, Haas and CSI have a strong track record, using a strong basis of research and experience to ground its practice and is continually refining its approaches through evaluation. Participating organizations are asked to identify and track intended outcomes.
    • The experience of other communities and institutions that have been through this process have reported very good results.
    • The supports of an impressively motivated and engaged local constituency, national consultants, a national equity network, ongoing research, and the focused development of local support network and talent, create more opportunities to build success than most other approaches.
    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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