Racial Identity Caucuses: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) & White Ally

Session Description:

In this session, you will explore a tool designed to improve your ability to serve as a change agent within your organization. Change agents work to normalize equity discussions, practices and to center equity as a core value within their organization. Come experience racial identity caucusing firsthand and practice normalizing discussion about race.

Racial identity caucusing is a powerful anti-racist tool in confronting the effects of internalized racial oppression and internalized racial superiority in an organization. Members work separately in their respective racial identity groups (BIPOC or White Ally) to examine the dynamics of their organization, unpack them, and plan for action. Although it may seem counterintuitive to caucus in separate groups, there are good reasons to do so. Within respective racial identity groups, individuals learn to work towards dismantling racism from their particular positionality. When they come back together, both identity groups have the skills and tools to move forward together to name, address, and dismantle institutional racism. This time to explore and unpack is known to increase the resilience of individuals doing the difficult work of undoing institutionalized racism.

This is an opportunity to join a community of practice and co-collaborate on addressing racial inequities in our profession. With practice and collaboration in mind, it is crucial to understand the following:

  • A caucus is not a debate or passive training space. In these sessions, we assume racism and racial inequities exist, and must be dismantled. Please arrive prepared to fully participate and engage in this process.
  • Speech intended to dismiss or harm other participants will not be tolerated. Please arrive prepared to lift everyone up in the discussion and learning and to listen for understanding.
  • In the spirit of arriving to fully participate, please plan to attend the entire session and refrain from scheduling any other commitment that conflicts with the session time.
  • The tools of racial identity caucusing are one where groups of people build resiliency and strength in order to ultimately take action. Action plans rarely emerge after the first caucus meeting; instead, the action plans develop over time within a community of practice and engagement.

To get the most out of this experience, we recommend reading the following materials:

3 learning objectives:

  • Participants will explore tools designed to improve their ability to serve as change agents within their community.
  • Participants will practice applying tools that help normalize equity discussions and practices within their organization.
  • Participants will work together to brainstorm ways to implement the tools within their organizations.

Speaker information:

Presented by the WRPA Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (EIB) Committee and Guest Facilitators

WRPA launched a committee in support of our commitment to Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (EIB). The EIB committee was formed in recognition that many public service institutions were created during a time when societal norms privileged and included some groups, while they disadvantaged and excluded others, creating inequities. These founding policies, practices, this culture, behaviors, and beliefs created day-to-day barriers for equity-seeking communities, which have compounded over time. The legacy of these barriers is sustained in our current time, through the unconscious practice of doing things as they have always been done. If left unexamined and unchanged, our current policies, practices and procedure recreate the historical exclusions set by their predecessors.

WRPA’s EIB Committee is an invitation for members of our professional community to connect, collaborate, and increase equity within our profession.