Racial Equity & Justice

The lenses through which we see racial equity and justice in America vary wildly. The senseless murder of George Floyd in 2020 made it harder for white America to ignore racism and its deep roots in our culture and systems. The pain of being a person of color in America is being spoken more directly and perhaps heard in new ways. We cannot lead, love, or grow spiritually without a willingness to learn about the impact of racism and what it means to work for racial equity and justice. While not intended to be exhaustive, the resources here I have found to be useful in this learning process and in my work for change.

Click the title of each organization or article to explore further.

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Go-To Websites

Racial Equity

Black Lives Matter
Needs no introduction. Has become a leader in work to eliminate racism. Like me, you may not agree with every position taken. There is for sure no disagreement with the success in mobilizing for change and for sharing helpful resources. Check this site out.

Associated Black Charities
Diane Bell-McKoy, Adar Ayira, and the team at Associated Black Charities in Baltimore are among the most courageous and persistent advocates for racial justice I know. They have led the fight and the awareness and education campaign in Baltimore. The Ten Questions they have developed to end structural racism and the resources on their website are a must for anyone looking to work against racism.

Looking for an effective grassroots organization modeling work for change? Check out CASA and its work to organize, advocate for, and expand opportunities for Latino and immigrant people in MD, PA, and VA.

Society for Disability Studies
This site offers great resources on disability rights including memoirs, books and articles by people with disabilities and one of the more complete Black Lives Matter resource lists.

Racial Equity Tools Glossary
Communication about race and racial equity is challenging. Building agreement on key terms is an important step in the process. This site offers a well-researched glossary of key terms helpful to those working for racial equity.

Race Matters Toolkit
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a leader among foundations in attention to racial equity. Their data-driven analysis and tool kit are worth checking out.

Building Movement Project
Frances Kunreuther and Sean Thomas-Breitfeld have led the reshaping of the leadership deficit question in the nonprofit sector to a focus on racial inequity and the lack of opportunity for people of color in the nonprofit sector of top leadership. Visit their site to explore this issue essential to ending systemic racism.

UnidosUS, formerly the National Council of LaRaza, is the go-to organization uniting the Latino community for change. 

Showing Up for Racial Justice
A national organization with chapters around the country, this site, and its local affiliates offer practical actions white people can take to learn about white racism and to take action to reduce and eliminate it.

Whites For Racial Equity
This is a very comprehensive site put together by the Monterey County affiliate of Showing Up for Racial Justice. It’s a great place for white folks looking to learn more about racial equity and options for getting involved.

Baltimore Racial Justice Action
Great example of a grassroots organization committed to leading and facilitating education and action that eliminates racism. There are similar organizations in communities around the country.

Go-To Websites

Social Justice and Equity

Examples of Social Justice Issues Facing the World
Would you like to broaden your perspective on the many issues that are part of social justice? This is a short simple read and great inventory of awareness and possible blind spots.

LGBTQ+ Glossary
The It Gets Better Project compiled this helpful glossary of terms for those desiring to keep up with the evolution of the Gay Rights movement. https://itgetsbetter.org/blog/lesson/glossary/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw-r71BRDuARIsAB7i_QOq3xj4BHqTrYVlniyLvc-rXc6ZAgcSWuSLtLvxOcG-AZLXi30kYeAaAsnBEALw_wcB

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
This is a great site to better understand the disability rights fight for justice and respect for people with physical and intellectual disabilities. Read some of their blog posts.

Lives Worth Living
This film educates viewers about the history of disability rights activism through the lens of two main characters, Fred Fay and Ed Roberts, as they fight for the rights of a large marginalized group in the United States.

Myths and Facts About Immigrants and Immigration
The Anti-Defamation League, a leading anti-hate organization, has debunked many of the common misconceptions surrounding immigration in this easy to read article.

Freedom For Immigrants
Freedom For Immigrants lays out data from immigrant detention centers across the United States.

Most Helpful Short Reads

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Peggy McIntosh, 1989
This classic written by a feminist researcher and advocate lays the foundation for our deeper understanding today of white privilege and entitlement. Look in your knapsack and see what surprises you.

Ford Foundation president Darren Walker on race in America
A clear and powerful description of how societal and institutional racism impacts people of color and the poor by the CEO of the Ford Foundation, one of America’s largest philanthropic organizations and agent of social change.

Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap
This powerful report uses data to demonstrate how racism limits who leads and the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector. If you are involved with a nonprofit and have not read it, now is a good time.

AWAKE to WOKE to WORK: Building a Race Equity Culture
This report by Equity in the Center, a group dedicated to prioritizing both internal and external racial equity in nonprofit organizations, describes the “Race Equity Cycle” organizations undergo while transforming from a white dominant culture to one of racial equity. It does a thorough job of explaining the steps involved in the process.

OWN Spotlight: Oprah + 100 Black Fathers
This is not a read but a YouTube watch. It is a powerful look at how racism impacts Black men and their families and communities. This is an eye-opener for those who have not lived as a Black Father.

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
Layla F. Saad
Great introduction to better understanding the many faces of white racism and how to be an anti-racist.

Racial Equity Resource Guide
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation compiled this racial equity resource guide as a part of its “America Healing” work. It contains a wide variety of resources to help both organizations and individuals educate themselves on racial inequity and work to achieve racial healing in their own lives and communities.

‘We the People’ – the three most misunderstood words in US history
The son of an American woman of Dutch heritage and a Navajo man, Mark Charles offers a unique perspective on three of the most misinterpreted words.

Where to Find Help

Roadmap Consulting
Leaders usually need outside help to address racism and inequity both within an organization and in carrying out its mission. Roadmap Consulting is a collaborative of consultants with deep experience and commitment to a fairer and more just world.

For other consulting resources in your community, look for organizations like Baltimore Racial Justice Action, that trains individuals and consultants in facilitating the hard discussions about race and justice in America and the world and the change efforts needed.

Important Books and Longer Reads

The first four books on this list rose to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list in the summer of 2020 after a Minneapolis policeman murdered 46-year-old George Floyd. Each of these books is a wake-up read for most white readers, including me. Our individual and collective collusion with overt and systemic racism pervades our life experiences. Awareness and appreciation of the African-American experience in America is the first step to change. Confronting racism is a critical step to fully confronting the other “isms” and prejudices that make life painful and unfair for people who are of color, women, people who are not heterosexual, and people who are not able-bodied.

Stamped from the Beginning
Ibram X. Kendi

White Fragility
Robin DiAngelo

Begin Again
Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

How to Be an Antiracist
Ibram X. Kendi

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
It’s a start to understanding how the terror, oppression, and lack of opportunity of the Jim Crow era, lasting from the 1870s through much of the 1950s, resulted in the movement of millions of Black Americans from the south to northern industrial areas in one of the largest mass migrations in history, leaving a lasting impact.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
Essential to understanding state-sponsored segregation at all levels and its lasting impact, including why our neighborhoods now look the way they do and why we are so isolated from black communities. White Americans, have limited authentic cross-racial experiences, limiting understanding of Black American experiences.

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
Interesting and comprehensive book about all the lies and/or omissions in our learning that shaped and continue to shape our view of America.

Disability Rights

Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist
Judy Heumann has led disability rights activities since high school. Her story is one of courage, action, and building awareness and power for change with a community of people fighting for the same basic human rights.

No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement
This book tells the story of how people with disabilities are forging the newest human rights movement of the century.

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century by Alice Wong
Recommended by a disability advocate friend, this is an amazing book of stories of how ableism discriminates against and attacks people with disabilities. The first of the stories is by Harriet McBryde Johnson and is titled “Unspeakable Conversations,” which details her discussion with a Princeton professor who tells her it would have been better had she not been born.

Women’s Rights

Women’s Lives: Multicultural Perspectives
This book discusses the intersectionality of race-ethnicity, class, sexuality, disability, and age in women’s lives through anecdotes and analytical articles, showing their impacts on women’s rights.

Movies Worth Seeing

Just Mercy
The true story of a young African-American attorney who challenged a wrongful conviction and death sentence of Walter McMillian in the South. Bryan Stevenson, the attorney, went on to become the founder of the Equal Rights Initiative and launched The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, to “dramatize the enslavement of African Americans, the evolution of racial terror lynchings, legalized racial segregation and racial hierarchy in America.”

This film masterfully shows “the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States” and makes clear how legal inequities, the court system, and private enterprise collude to imprison people of color.

I Am Not Your Negro
James Baldwin, an outspoken civil rights leader and author, describes his experience of racism in America.

This film details the history of the pioneers of America’s disability rights movement and the eventual passage of the American Disability Rights Act. A must see for anyone concerned about justice for all.

Other Useful Websites

Racial Equity, The Aspen Institute
Conversation Guide: Talking about Race, Racism, Care, and Caregiving
Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity, Board Source
Race Forward
Racial Equity Tools
World Institute on Disability
ADA National Network
The APAWLI Signature Program
New Ways Ministry

About Tom Adams

Tom AdamsTom Adams writes and speaks on topics vital to the intersection of our personal lives with our community and global lives. He has for decades been engaged in and written about nonprofit leadership and transitions, spirituality and spiritual growth, how we each contribute to a more just and equitable world and recovery from addictions and the Twelve Step recovery movement.