This is a special special message to Institutional/Non-Profit/Government/Philanthropic Leaders currently searching for Anti-Racism workshops as bandaids to the current movement. Before you reach out to me or any other consultant/facilitator requesting proposals for one-hour or one day workshops to make your organization “an anti-racist” organization, consider the following:
- Define RACISM.
What is your analysis as to what is racism, how it began, and how is it maintained? Some of us think that racism is discrimination, others think that it’s institutional. Either way, we need clear, shared language. We can’t move in any direction if we are not speaking about the same thing. If you don’t already have an analysis, consider attending an Undoing Racism workshop with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond–before you even reach out to a consultant.
2. What is your urgency to do this work now?
Some of y’all are having knee-jerk reactions and are running to anyone hoping to look like you are standing in solidarity. How about you unpack why it has taken you this long to even call this out? Unless you’re prepared to, not just examine racism from a looking glass perspective, dive deep and examine how your organization’s policies, practices, staffing and leadership perpetuate racism and/or oppression against the community you serve including your employees, don’t waste the time nor money.
3. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
It’s going to take time for us to change ourselves let alone our organizations. Stop asking consultants to be miracle workers and give you a couple of hours of training as a save all to what is happening outside your window and in your organization. You have to be invested in changing for the long run. So please don’t approach the work as a one off. There are organizations and community organizing groups that have imbedded this approach into their lives taking anywhere between 5-10 years to accomplish and sustain.
4. ANTI- RACISM is a VERB not a NOUN.
Anti-racism is a daily practice of self reflection, humility, and accountability. This work is about bringing humanity back into the fold. It can’t be done superficially nor can it be done in a vacuum. It’s done in community and requires us to go beyond our comfort zones. It’s beautifully messy work that has the power to liberate minds and open hearts. The challenge is in the conflict resolution and grace that we all have to practice and model.
*Bonus note: this work is not meant for one person to carry. It requires all hands on deck. Develop your people to keep this with work going past your tenure.
I hope this gives you direction.
Addys Castillo is a juvenile/criminal justice practitioner with over 25 years of comprehensive experience as a public administrator working with our most vulnerable populations. Throughout her career, Addys has worked with numerous state agencies and non-profits including but not limited to LEAP (Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership), State of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families, Project Model Offender Reintegration Experience (MORE) Inc., The California Endowment and The Children’s Aid Society. Her passion for social justice and commitment to leadership led her to the Elm City Children and Families Fellowship with Annie E. Case/Casey Family Services and the National Urban Fellows program.
Through her involvement with Casey Family Services, Addys embraced Results Based Accountability (RBA) becoming an RBA Coach/Consultant assisting organizations in embedding the RBA framework as a tool to measure impact and program effectiveness. As National Urban Fellow, Addys worked at The California Endowment as a Subject Matter Expert in the areas Criminal/Juvenile Justice programing and Trauma Informed Care, providing insight and recommendations to further the work of the Boys and Men of Color (BMoC) Initiative. In her formal role as Director of Youth Justice Services for the Children’s Aid Society, Addys was responsible for the administration and oversight of numerous programs working with New York State’s Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), New York City’s Department of Probation (DOP) and Administration of Children Services (ACS).
Addys is an anti-racist organizer dedicated towards building people power. As the Executive Director of the Citywide Youth Coalition, Inc. in New Haven, CT she organizes and convenes youth, community members and youth serving organizations towards building a youth-led grassroots movement towards reforming the systems that most impact young people. Addys is also a Core Trainer with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond in New Orleans, LA.
Addys holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology from Central Connecticut State University; a Masters of Science in Criminal Justice and Professional Certificate in Forensic Psychology from the University of New Haven; along with a Masters of Public Administration from the City of New York Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs