Racial Equity Commitment
June 15, 2020
To the Members of the Transform Mid-Atlantic Community,
Transform Mid-Atlantic is a convening organization dedicated to harnessing the collective resources and capacity of higher education institutions across Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia to be responsible anchor institutions in and partners with their communities. Because of this role, Transform Mid-Atlantic recognizes the power we hold as an organization to collectively address the intractable issues in our communities, including systemic racism and economic poverty. Transform Mid-Atlantic condemns the long history of racially motivated murders of African American men, women, and children, of whom Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks are only the most recent victims. We condemn racism in all its forms, both direct and indirect, and recognize that racism in any form diminishes all of us.
Transform Mid-Atlantic’s mission, vision, and values highlight the need to leverage the collective power of the Mid-Atlantic region’s higher education network to develop engaged global citizens who actively contribute to creating diverse, racially diverse, healthy, sustainable, and socially just communities. Among the thirty-eight member colleges and universities in Transform Mid-Atlantic, we are thoughtfully developing comprehensive and a strategic equity action plans to actively advance racial justice within our organization. This includes creating and promoting policies, processes, programs, spaces, and conversations to support the building of a more equitable and just society. Below is a list of several strategic initiatives being devised and implemented as part of Transform Mid-Atlantic’s Equity Action Plan.
Developing and Implementing a Transform Mid-Atlantic Equity Action Plan
- Transform Mid-Atlantic is holding four “Community Equity Conversations: Don’t Look Away” with Carmen Marshall, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Consultant for Maryland Nonprofits. The first of these conversations was dedicated to the Transform Mid-Atlantic 2019-2020 AmeriCorps VISTA cohort. The subsequent three conversations will be facilitated with the greater Transform Mid-Atlantic network for our members to listen, learn, be heard, and share resources to move this work forward.
- Transform Mid-Atlantic will host a series of conversations for institutional leaders and administrators for them to discuss ways to combat racism and advance a more inclusive culture by developing and/or supporting their respective institutions’ community and civic engagement programs and policies.
- As an outcome of the Community Equity Conversations, Transform Mid-Atlantic will convene a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Taskforce to create an Equity Action Plan for the organization. This plan will include accountability measures. Anticipated actions include:
- Increase communication around Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work. It is a top priority to enhance communication with the Transform Mid-Atlantic AmeriCorps VISTA cohort, supervisors, higher education member institutions, and our greater network.
- Highlight Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work in Transform Mid-Atlantic’s e-newsletter, website, orientations, awards, convenings, and professional development.
- Offer monthly/quarterly Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion check-ins.
- Review Transform Mid-Atlantic policies, procedures, and partnerships to reflect Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion values. This review will incorporate the accountability measures from the Equity Action Plan.
- Expand Transform Mid-Atlantic’s capacity in changing our organizational and network’s culture, we will develop and promote social justice programming among our AmeriCorps VISTA cohorts, faculty, and community engagement professionals.
Transform Mid-Atlantic will invite and involve representative stakeholders in the development of the Equity Action Plan and will present it to the Board for adoption, ensuring vertical and horizontal ownership, implementation, and accountability. The Equity Action Plan will be woven together with the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan for Transform Mid-Atlantic.