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The racial equity lens framework developed by Maketa Wilborn is grounded in personal practice and can be applied to all levels of our professional work. It is a foundational guide for strategic planning, developing programs and evaluating organizational policies, procedures and resources. Effectively applying this lens requires the user to develop the foundational skills and understanding necessary to maintain a critical eye for racial equity at all levels.

The lens has 6 distinct areas of focus -
centering race, ensuring access, seeing white, building bridges, shifting power, and centering relationships. Each represents an aspect of social justice work that must be explored, understood and felt. And, while we may focus on one at a time, the true power of this lens lies in understanding how they intersect and intentionally engaging with all six simultaneously.
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Centering Race

This filter focuses on the critical need to address race intentionally and explicitly - but not exclusively. With our focus on race we must also acknowledge and address the broader issues related to the multiple dimensions of diversity including, but not limited to, gender, gender identity, ability, and age.

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Ensuring Access

This filter is the gateway to inclusion and participation. It is necessary to ensure that all stakeholders have real access to programs, resources, and educational opportunities. Here we are also invited to become aware of how we consciously and unconsciously act as gatekeepers who maintain and support the existing systems of inequity within our organization and the larger society.

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Seeing White

This filter invites a critical examination of the color, culture and consciousness that is the legacy of white colonialism. This lens challenges us to go beyond conceptualizing a racial “other” in people of color and recognize the specific elements that inform the racial identity and actions of white people. With this filter we begin to understand what Whiteness is, how and why it was created, and how it continues to operate to support systems of racial inequity.

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Centering Relationships

This is about creating and sustaining authentic and informed relationships across difference. This filter invites us to move beyond transactional interactions and balance task and relationship to ensure that we are giving support and attention to the process as well as to our desired outcomes. Here we maintain the tone and build the trust to do the challenging work of creating authentically equitable communities and organizations.

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Building Bridges

This filter invites us to look at how we work with others to act for the collective betterment. It requires us to recognize injustice and to work across differences to find a common ground to achieve equity. Building bridges requires coalition building and extending our networks. Necessary skills are empathy, co-operation, trust, effective communication, mediation and conflict resolution skills.

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Shifting & Sharing Power

This filter invites us to identify, analyze and act to address power dynamics that hinder equity and justice. This is a call to those in formal and informal positions of power to engage in a deliberate process of sharing and shifting that power to ensure agency among all stakeholders. And it is a call to those without positional power to identify and apply their influence to create positive change.
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It really is about relationships! What individuals or organizations do you know that would benefit from a partnership with me? Help make the connection!
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Maketa is a Seattle based master facilitator and highly experienced thought partner leading organizational development efforts for non-profit, government, higher education and corporate organizations.

Learn more about Maketa >


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E Ideas Into Action! Newsletter
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Great flow of the day!  We have been inundated by "diversity" this year, but my experience today brought new life into this process!

Joan H., independent school staff