We are Ready for REDI (Racial Equity, Diversity, Inclusion)

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Systemic racism. White privilege. Implicit bias. These terms describe forces that have shaped Baltimore. The Circle leadership believes that the better we as individuals and as an organization identify and understand these forces and their corresponding impact on Baltimore, the better equipped we will be: 1) to recommend grants with the potential to combat or disrupt these destructive forces; and 2) to foster genuine relationships among a diverse group of Baltimore area stakeholders, in line with the Circle’s mission. With these aspirations in mind, the Circle will offer engaging learning opportunities for Circle members while the newly created Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (REDI) begins its work.

The March 17th Full Circle meeting will feature a talk by Lawrence Brown, Ph.D., formerly a Morgan State University faculty member and the author of The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America.  He will discuss the forces that have shaped Baltimore into the hyper-segregated city that exists today and will offer solutions for achieving racial equity.    On April 15, Circle Reads will discuss the new book The Antiracist: How to Start the Conversation About Race and Take Action, by Baltimore author Kondwani Fidel, who will join the conversation.

Meanwhile, the REDI Committee, having spent the past eight months studying and discussing issues of race and equity, will charge a Communications Work Group: 1) to examine the words that describe our values and mission; 2) to revise those statements as needed to reflect an understanding of the racial forces at play in Baltimore while being consistent with the Circle’s mission; and 3) to consider the need for Vision and REDI statements.  This approach was selected after many thoughtful conversations among REDI Committee members, Circle committee co-chairs, officers and racial equity consultants.  The entire Circle membership will be kept abreast of this process via the Circle’s e-newsletter.

This review will be followed by an assessment of how the Circle carries out its mission through grantmaking and education.  The REDI Committee will retain consultants as necessary to assist with this complex work and Circle members will be apprised of more details as they become available later this year.