About Racing to Equity, Structural Racial Inequity

OUR MISSIOn

R2E’s mission is to catalyze communities, government, and other institutions to dismantle structural racial inequity and create equitable outcomes for all. We design and apply tools and strategies to dismantle structural racial inequity, in order to achieve racial equity.

OUR VISION

A world based on principles of racial equity and social justice where every human being is honored, valued and, dignified, and where race no longer determines one’s life outcomes.

OUR WHY

We believe in the capacity for humanity to develop a world where healing, liberation, racial equity, and economic justice are the norm. We at R2E are responsible for supporting individuals and leaders to catalyze communities, governments, and other institutions to advance structural racial equity and create equitable outcomes for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

 

Our Values

Integrity: We commit to maintaining transparent alignment with our vision, mission, and core values with humility and authenticity.


Adaptability: We commit to ensuring relevance, connection, creativity, collective input, and multiple possibilities to meet humanity’s needs in a changing political, ideological, social, and economic environment.


Accountability: We commit to actively collaborating with and centering the voices and leadership of BIPOC and other communities impacted by systemic and structural racism to shape and inform our approaches to racial equity and social justice.


Racial Justice: We commit to aligning our beliefs and values to live in purpose and transform systems that honor and dignify the humanity of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.


Community: We commit to intentionally coming together in solidarity with each community in a meaningful way to co-create and co-design a path towards racial equity and social justice. We place relationships at the core of who we are and all we do.


Healing & Liberation: We commit to the healing, self-actualization, and liberation for ourselves and communities as we dismantle racism and all oppressions.

 

Economic Justice: We commit to fee structures which take into consideration the hundreds of years of systemic economic advantage White people have been the beneficiaries of, creating pervasive economic injustice for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

Foundational Beliefs

• Racial Equity work is about healing and liberation.
• Racial Equity work is adaptive and emergent.
• Oppression can be unlearned.
• If you are not actively involved in combating oppression, you are complicit; Challenging racism is everyone’s work.
• Experiencing discomfort and challenging cognitive dissonance are essential components for learning.

 

 

• Increasing awareness of oneself is a strategy for change.
• We have a collective responsibility to change the status quo.
• Impact and outcomes matter more than intention.
• Listening is a form of action.
• Strong relationships are foundational to advancing racial equity.

 

 
 
Image by Jackson Hendry

Our Approach

All of our work is rooted in our values and foundational beliefs. We engage clients and partners in a way that encourages and inspires them to explore dynamics of difference while challenging them to grow in their awareness of self, adaptive leadership, and knowledge of others. We help leaders and organizations make meaningful personal connections to structural inequity in order to dismantle it and replace it with newly developed systems that ensure systemic and sustainable racial equity and social justice.

Together we co-create and maintain what the Center for Ethical Leadership calls "Gracious Space -- a spirit and setting where we invite the stranger and learn in public”. Gracious Space addresses the fundamental human and organizational needs to establish trust, and to foster collaboration, meaning, and sustainable change and responsibility. In a rapidly changing world with ethnically and linguistically diverse communities and organizations, we have a tremendous need for courageous collaboration, overt empathy, and the ability to reimagine our organizations to ensure Justice, Equity, Diversity. and Inclusion. Establishing a Gracious Space is a powerful and research-based approach to having dialogues and conversations about advancing racial equity and social justice as well as holding ourselves accountable to reimagining and creating a more socially just future together.

We are all in different places in our individual and collective journey towards advancing racial equity, and we celebrate and meet one another where we are and progress forward together. No matter where we are in our leadership for racial equity journey, each one of us has the responsibility to learn how to improve our knowledge, skills, competencies, and actions to advance racial equity in the context of our professional leadership practice.

 

Healing, liberation, and racial equity starts within each of us.

 

R2E's Racial Equity & Social Justice Framework

At Racing to Equity (R2E), we define racial equity as both an outcome and a process.

As an outcome, we achieve racial equity when race no longer determines one’s outcomes in life; when everyone has what they need to thrive, no matter where they live. As a process, we apply racial equity when those most impacted by structural racial inequity are meaningfully involved in the creation and implementation of the institutional policies and practices that impact their lives.

When we achieve racial equity:

  • People, including people of color, are owners, planners, and decision-makers in the systems that govern their lives.

  • We acknowledge and account for past and current inequities, and provide all people, particularly those most impacted by racial inequities, the infrastructure needed to thrive.

  • Everyone benefits from a more just, equitable system.

Racial Equity, Social Justice Framework

Successful dialogue focuses on understanding, valuing, honoring, and dignifying the humanity of the people we are interacting with, especially the humanity of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

 

Core Components

Healing

&

Liberation

A core component of R2E’s work with clients is Healing and Liberation. Without healing, there can be no progress. We include this work—both individual and collaborative—into each and every service we provide. Each of the four critical characteristics of cultural responsiveness (Awareness, Analysis, Action and Advocacy, and Accountability and Allyship) must be paired with a healing and liberation practice in order to be sustainable.

Grounding

in Self

Each of our sessions—professional development, executive coaching, or planning—begins with a short exercise to ground ourselves in order to separate from everyday anxieties that may plague us and present as a barrier to this crucial work. Through guided meditation, music therapy, or breathwork, we prioritize grounding and centering before engaging. This is a way to honor the self, remove distraction, and to be honest with oneself in exploring how we are able to show up for that particular day. The long-term benefits of adopting grounding as a practice are proven, and we see this step as essential to creating a space where people are allowed to be vulnerable and to learn in public.

Affinity Caucusing

Affinity Caucusing, also known as Affinity Groups or Racial Identity Caucusing, is a strategy used in Racial Justice and Equity work, where those who share a common identity are given an opportunity to meet separately to gather, connect, and learn. People are naturally inclined to seek out and connect with other people who share their own identities, experiences, values, priorities, or traits. Racial caucusing harnesses that natural inclination in order to form communities and come together with intentional, explicit racial justice goals in mind. Generally, caucus groups are formed for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), as well as white-identifying individuals. Sometimes a caucus group for individuals who identify with more than one race are necessary as well.

 

At R2E, we engage in proactive caucusing as a way for affinity groups to process their shared experiences, engage in discussions around trauma and healing, and discuss ways in which learning can be applied in their personal and professional leadership practices. Caucus groups provide an intimate space where people are encouraged to be vulnerable, and they limit the amount of added labor to which people of color are often subjected when engaging in diversity, equity, and inclusion work.

Courageous Collaboration Within Gracious Space

For more than twenty years, the Center for Ethical Leadership in Seattle, WA has taught and shared the four core elements of Courageous Collaboration for Gracious Space: spirit (ways of being), setting, inviting the stranger in, and being vulnerable and authentic to learn in public.  More than 15,000 people the USA and 25 countries have engaged in creating a Courageous Collaboration within Gracious Space and have found that doing so enables them to establish a container to have courageous conversations about race and racism. 

 

These conversations emphasize listening, empathy, vulnerability, authenticity and openness to working together to co-create a better future while establishing a courageous environment where different ideas and perspectives are welcome and where people learn together rather than compete and defend their fragility and points of view. A core value component of Racing to Equity Consulting Group’s work is to co-create a Courageous Collaboration within Gracious Space with our clients and partners stepping into the field of structural transformation.

Adaptive Leadership

Ronald Heifetz states in the book The Practice of Adaptive Leadership that “Adaptive leadership is the practice of mobilizing people to successfully tackle tough challenges and thrive.” Adaptive leadership is specifically about creating change that enables the ability for organizations to thrive and positively impact the world. New environments demand new and emergent strategies and abilities as well as adaptive and courageous leadership that inspires and mobilizes staff.

 

Adaptive work is designed to narrow the gap between organizational aspirations and reality, and thus demands responses outside the current repertoire and requires difficult learning. This learning involves distinguishing between what is precious and essential in from what is expendable, which often involves a feeling of loss and requires us to re-fashion loyalties and develop new competencies. Adaptive work is value-laden and problem-solving responsibility shifts to staff. Adaptive work requires a longer time frame than technical work and it is experimental. Adaptive challenges generate imbalance and avoidance within the organization.

Critical Race Theory

As a component of our Adaptive Leadership for Racial Equity Institute, we dive deeply into learning about Critical Race Theory and the true history of the United States. Our Critical Race Theory module walks participants through the evolution of race from the Civil Rights era to present day, highlighting the relics of historical racism that are present in society today. With interactive activities and videos, we process this history, which is often the first-time participants have heard an accurate retelling, and examine the ways in which it affects our lives today.

 

Once shared understanding and a common history is established, we move into exploration of the five tenets of Critical Race Theory and begin to draw parallels between our understanding of these five tenets and the things we experience on a daily basis. This foundation carries through the rest of the course as we demonstrate how Critical Race Theory and racial equity in the workplace are inextricably linked.

Systems Thinking

Organizations, institutions, municipalities, and countries are social living systems. In order to achieve racial equity and social justice, individuals and leaders need to be system thinkers. Utilizing systems thinking principles enables us to structurally transform organizations and institutions in sustainable, substantial, and strategic ways.  Gaining knowledge about systems thinking helps our clients understand how and where they can have the greatest impact in advancing racial equity and social justice, while increasing their own awareness of their leadership of self and identifying why there are gaps between espoused values and actual actions and outcomes within organizations. Leaders who think in systems know that there is nothing more personal than a leader’s vision and at the same time, they understand that visions that are truly transformative have nothing to do with them as individuals.

 

Being a systems thinker is more than applying a new way of thinking.  It is a new way of being. It requires us to interact with our colleagues and teams in different and adaptive ways that create clarity about where the organization needs to go and to have the courage to take responsibility for the reasons why the current system is creating negative outcomes for Black, Indigenous,

and People of Color.

Reframing Organizations

It is critical for leaders to understand two things about reframing organizations: 1) an organization must be aligned in its strategy, mission, vision, and values; 2) how staff are engaged in their work, their level of teamwork, and their relationships to one another and to stakeholders is extremely important. 

 

Organizations are complex, surprising, deceptive, and vague systems all at once. Having the ability to frame and reframe allows leaders to work through and navigate various complexities, opportunities, and problems much more effectively. An important step that leaders take in reframing is doing a deep analysis of the current status of the organization. The mark of an effective leader is to be able to see all of the options they have so that they can to reframe their organization accurately.

 

It is through experience and wisdom that leaders make sense of what is going on in their organizations, positive or negative. Leaders who utilize reframing are able to “go to the balcony” to better observe, interpret, and eventually intervene to challenge the status quo. We support leaders in reframing their organizations and implementing effective, action-based interventions.

our team

Anita Garcia Morales

CO-FOUNDER, Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction, and

Co-Principal Consultant

Anita Garcia Morales brings a variety of experiences and expertise to her dynamic position at Racing to Equity.

For the first 21 years of her life, Anita’s experience as a migrant farm worker took her across the United States. Living in depressing conditions in labor camps, doing all manner of field work, being the perpetual immigrant student in class and sensing the “otherness” to which her family and ethnic group were subjected to were what shaped Anita’s racial, class, and cultural lens. 

Anita received her B.A. and Teaching degree from the University of Washington. She lived out her dream and taught in Seattle Public Schools for 22 years. She was persuaded to move to the District level, first as a social studies coach, and then as a racial equity strategist with the Department of Equity & Race Relations.

Anita is also a Courage & Renewal Facilitator, a Lead Instructor for the Seattle Teacher Residency program, a Lead Trainer for Class Action, and a Certified Positive Discipline Associate for Educators and Parent/Guardians. The common thread that runs through all that Anita does is her focus on Social Justice and Racial Equity.

Bernardo is the former Director of the School Family Partnerships, Equity & Race Relations, and Native American Education Departments for Seattle Public Schools (SPS), providing vision, leadership, and hands-on work to systemically advance racial equity. 

During his tenure at SPS, Bernardo was an integral part of the Superintendent's Executive & Leadership Team. He also served as the Co-Principal Investigator for Family Engagement & Academic Success projects with Johns Hopkins University & the US Department of Education.

In addition, Bernardo directed the development of SPS's Policy No. 0030: Ensuring Educational & Racial Equity, as well as the systemic implementation of Family Engagement National Best Practices to increase student academic achievement. During this time, the District was awarded three National Partnerships District Awards from the National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University.  

Bernardo has received professional certificates focused on Family Engagement & Eliminating Opportunity Gaps from Harvard's Graduate School of Education. 

Bernardo brings to Racing to Equity over 20+ years of experience working on issues of race and social justice—working with community groups, foundations, private companies, and government agencies dedicated to building a more just and democratic society. A prolific speaker and trainer, Bernardo has supported numerous organizations across the country in advancing leadership and racial equity in their work.

 

Bernardo Lives in Seattle, Duwamish and Coast Salish People's Land, with his wife Lisa Ruiz.  Lisa also supports the Racing to Equity Consulting Group as an Admin Assistant and Tax Clerk as her contribution to a People of Color owned and operated business.

Bernardo Ruiz

CO-FOUNDER, CEO,

and Co-Principal

CONSULTANT

TAMI FARBEr

Leader, Organizer, Educator, Facilitator, Coach, Change Agent and Truth Seeker, Tami Farber brings over 25 years of experience in the fields of Child and Youth Development, Education, Organizational Development and Leadership, Community Organizing, and Systems Change work for the non-profit/non-governmental, public, and private sectors globally.

 

Most recently, Tami served as the Senior Director of Equity, Training, and Development for Leadership Snohomish County with a primary focus of ensuring the integration of equity principles and practices across key operational areas for organizations and institutions across sectors within the county and beyond.

 

Tami earned her Bachelor’s degree from Long Island University Global College and her Master of Social Work from Columbia University. She received her anti-racist training through the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and her Coaching Certification through Seattle Life Coach Training. Tami truly loves her work and exemplifies a person devoted to a transformed world.

LEAD ASSOCIATE, MSW

Laura is a graduate student pursuing her Master's of Social Work at the University of Washington. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Tisch School at New York University and has spent the last seven years endeavoring to empower communities through storytelling, awareness of self, connection to others, and connection to place.

 

Laura has professional experience in arts administration, non-profit development, communications, and education equity. She has most recently dedicated her love of people and environment to the field of place-based education. At Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming, Laura spent three years developing and delivering experiential education curriculum both in direct practice with youth and as a mentor and teacher trainer for AmeriCorps service members. She also provided organizational change leadership through facilitation of unconscious bias training and anti-racist community building initiatives. She currently works with IslandWood's Urban Schools Program in King County, Washington, facilitating learning and development opportunities for K-12 teachers seeking to expand their anti-racist, localized, and experiential teaching practices.

 

Laura approaches her role as a mentor and facilitator with cultural humility, joyful curiosity, and participant- and place-centeredness. She brings an anti-oppressive and place-based pedagogy to her organizational learning and change work, and is committed to resisting cultures of white supremacy through deep listening, consistent reflection, action to protect the lives and dignities of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and values of collective liberation centered in all of her relationships.

Laura Brown

GRADUATE INTERN,

UW School of

SOCIAL WORK

ALEXANDRA CHASE

GRADUATE INTERN,

UW School of

SOCIAL WORK

Alex is a graduate student pursuing her Master's of Social Work at the University of Washington. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Global and International Studies at the University of Kansas, and has a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington and a Certificate in Grantwriting from Seattle Central College. Alex brings over 7 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, has worked at a number of organizations in the Seattle area including Neighborhood House, Friends of the Children, KEXP, and Seattle Arts & Lectures, and has experience in direct service with youth and families, volunteer management, fundraising, database administration, and assisting in strategic efforts for racial equity.

Author and activist Arundhati Roy once said, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” Alex's calling to the field of Social Work is based in the belief that another way of living is possible and through sustained commitment and action we can create the world we want to be a part of. She has a deep love of learning and values compassion, collaboration, accountability, and critical thinking and analysis. She approaches her work in a culturally responsive, strengths-based way that focuses on the needs and goals of clients and utilizes their inherent skills and abilities. She believes in the importance of understanding the systems and structures that shape society and actively working to dismantle white supremacy culture through deep personal work and the eradication of inequitable policies and practices within organizations, government entities, and our community at large.

Hello, I am a daughter, sister, and mother. Member of the Kiowa, Muscogee Creek, And American Nations. As a consulting teacher I specialize in Anti-racist pedagogy and culturally responsive practices in K-12 education systems. I am currently the elected Vice President of the Seattle Education Association. In my last roles with Seattle Public Schools I worked as a racial equity Consulting Teacher for school based racial equity teams in the Department of Racial Equity Advancement and as a racial equity advisor within HR's professional growth and educator standards team. I have also served in student supports, family advocacy, as well as a primary classroom teacher over my 7 years with Seattle Public Schools.

 

I have worked in community as a family advocate with Title VI & Title IX Native Education teacher, taught in Title 1 schools and HCC schools, and developed alternative schooling environments with highly vulnerable student populations. My content expertise as a Consulting Teacher includes professional coaching for practitioners in K-12 education systems on culturally responsive practice, ethnic studies instruction, and racial equity strategic advising on implementation of education policy/programs/procedures. I hold an Anthropology B.A. from the University of California Santa Cruz and my M.A. in Teaching from the from University of Southern California.

Uti Yamassee Hawkins

Associate

Tony Nabors

Associate

Tony Nabors is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Tony Nabors Consulting as well as the first person to hold the title of “Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” in the state of Washington for a public housing authority. With over 16 years of experience working in equity, diversity, inclusion (EDI), justice, and advocacy work, Tony is passionate about moving people from hesitation and trepidation to confidence and effectiveness concerning the subjects of race, diversity, and equity.

Tony’s skills include anti-racism training, consulting, strategy development, public speaking, team leadership, group facilitation, and program management. He also holds a passion for audio/visual media and incorporates video and photography to amplify the effectiveness and reach of his anti-racism work.

As an American Ethnic Studies major at the University of Washington, he realized early on that his unique set of life experiences, alongside his gifts for public speaking, strategy, and persuasion, made EDI consulting a natural fit. In the last year, Tony has provided services for healthcare providers and insurers, housing nonprofits, colleges, a significant local music organization, an international fundraising/outreach nonprofit, a mental health support organization, and even a small Montessori school in the Midwest. Tony is passionate about advocating for a world where all people have equal access to thriving and success and he champions the voices and needs of the disenfranchised.

Jordon Smith is a Project Manager and Research Assistant for Racing to Equity Consulting Group.

 

She graduated from the University of Washington in 2019 and specializes in scientifically informed equitable systems change. She brings a decade of experience in the nonprofit industry. Jordon is most passionate about cultivating relationships and developing systems and processes that advance racial equity and social justice. These two skills recognize how our work is interconnected.

 

As a Project Manager, Jordon supports the Racing to Equity Consulting Group's services to meet the unique needs of our clients and partners.

Jordan Smith

Project Manager & Research Assistant

DR. NIKUM PON

DATA, RESEARCH, and EVALUATION SPECIALIST

Dr. Nikum Pon is the former Director of Equity in Education for the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD). In this position, he and his team supported King and Pierce county school districts toward systems transformation to ensure academic excellence for each and every student. He has developed and implemented research-based gap closing strategies along with providing on-going racial equity training and coaching for a wide range of educators both locally and regionally to build their capacity to strengthen students’ educational outcomes. In his professional career, he has dedicated the last 22 years of his life working with a wide range of students and their families in racially, linguistically, and culturally diverse communities in predominantly low-income settings in the greater Seattle area. He contributed greatly to impactful programming during his nine years with SafeFutures Youth Center.

 

Nikum’s academic preparation includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Cell Molecular Biology and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Psychology and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington, and a Master’s Degree in Education from Seattle Pacific University. In addition, he is certified in Adaptive Leadership from Leadership Eastside as class of 2017. He is a life-long learner as he continues to find ways to deepen his learning as a systems thinker/leader and critical race theorist.

 

Our Partners

KARENA HOOKS

Karena Hooks, Leader, Organizer, Educator, Facilitator, Coach, Change Agent, and Truth Seeker brings over 20 years of experience in the fields of both PreK-12 and Higher Education, Organizational Development and Leadership, Community Organizing, and Systems Change work for the non-profit/non-governmental, public, and private sectors globally. Karena is driven by a vision and commitment for a healthy, thriving, and just society. She is known for her engaging and impactful facilitation techniques, her high-level skills and abilities to influence organizational and leadership change, and is a dynamic speaker and transformational life coach.


She earned her Bachelor’s degree from New York University, and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Washington. She received her anti-racist training through the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and her Executive Coaching Certification. She is also currently serving as an Adjunct Faculty member at Columbia University’s School of Social Work online program. Within each community Karena works, she brings passion and commitment.

Partner,

HOOKS GLOBAL, MSW

Barbara Grant is the Founder and CEO of Crux Consulting Consortium. She advises leaders and organizations on their most pressing issues related to mission, strategy, team development, and relationship to equity, inclusion and belonging. Barbara works with clients from various sectors – private, public, and social – and has gained perspective on all different levels of these systems.

Her own leadership experience prior to the last two decades of running an international consulting practice, ranges from building programs in prisons, to a decade at Microsoft, including directing Microsoft’s Leadership Development programs worldwide. Based in systems thinking, equity and data informed decision making, Barbara bridges differences to support clients at all levels to take meaningful, sustainable action, in support of their missions.

Barbara has a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Bastyr University and a BA in International Relations from the University of Notre Dame. She is culturally competent and has experience in a variety of countries and settings, is fluent in Spanish, and, being of Irish heritage, has a well-developed sense of humor. Barbara lives happily in Seattle, is an active community volunteer, and a parent of two very interesting teenagers.

Barbara Grant

Partner,

Crux Consulting Consortium

Tara Smith

Partner,

Crux Consulting Consortium

Tara is all about partnership, persistence and grace. Whether it’s encouragement to take on a new challenge, a connection to a new resource, a sympathetic ear, or a needed reality check – Tara thrives on helping clients learn and grow. Having spent nearly 20 years working in nonprofits as an Executive Director, Development Director and Board Member, Tara not only has a comprehensive view of the sector, all those years of fundraising have made her relatively dogged and fearless. Among all missions, her favorite is building strong leaders and strong communities, and she feels truly lucky that Crux enables her to do that every day.

Tara earned her B.A. in Economics and English at the University of Washington. She is also a graduate of the UW Nancy Bell Evans Center’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute (NELI). Following college, Tara began her career at United Way of King County, moving from Loaned Executive to Campaign Manager to Assistant Director within the workplace giving team. This provided connection with and exposure to corporate settings ranging from accounting firms, banks and insurance providers to hotels, manufacturers and media companies. After six campaign seasons, Tara was ready for a new adventure and moved on to become Development Director at Seattle Works. There too, she was recognized and promoted, serving as Associated Director, Interim Executive Director and ultimately, Executive Director.