MACDC and 20 Members take Racial Equity Pledge

MACDC and 20 Members take Racial Equity Pledge

February 2022
Nadine Sanchara

The Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) and 20 of its members have so far committed to a Racial Equity Pledge that affirms their commitment to work internally and in partnership with others to make their organizations more diverse, equitable and inclusive.  MACDC launched the Racial Equity Pledge at its Annual Meeting in November 2021.

“We are excited to be working with our members to help each other and push each other to be what we aspire to be – diverse, inclusive, equitable and effective organizations working to eliminate racism in all its forms,” said Joseph Kriesberg, President of MACDC.  “This will be our North Star as we work to turn our pledges into actions.”

In the summer of 2020, during the surge in civil rights actions following the killing of George Floyd and other people of color, CDCs, individually and collectively, joined with others to speak out against injustice and to reflect on their own practices and culture. Community organizers from CDCs across the state came together to push for more racial equity within the CDC movement. They asked MACDC’s leadership to embrace a racial equity pledge to be shared with its members.

MACDC’s board voted to establish a committee to work with the organizers to develop this pledge and a plan for implementation. The MACDC Board of Directors encourages its members to discuss the pledge with board members and staff and sign the pledge as a step toward our collective effort to make our movement and our organizations more diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

“The Racial Equity Pledge was created for our members, by our members to encourage action. Together we are learning, growing, and challenging ourselves, through a transparent and inclusive process. Equity is at the core of our work. Understanding how racial inequities manifest in our organizations, programs, policies, and neighborhoods is essential in community building,” said Shirronda Almeida, Director of the Mel King Institute, a program of MACDC.

Emilio Dorcely, CEO of Urban Edge and a board member of MACDC, was involved in the pledge from its inception said, “it is an honor for me to be part of the team that created the MACDC racial equity pledge. Flexible and adaptable to agencies across Massachusetts, our pledge, combined with our collective power and determined drive can make our field more equitable and inclusive.”

By signing this pledge, organizations agree to embrace four values:

  1. committing to learning and addressing the different levels of racism so they can take action to dismantle those inequities;
  2. their staff should be diverse, equitable, inclusive, and representative of the communities they serve;
  3. their board should be diverse, equitable, inclusive, and representative of the communities they serve; and
  4. authentic representation in programming/services.

Pledge adoptees also commit to implementing at least one specific action toward advancing each of these values within the next year.

“The intention of this pledge is to provide a roadmap for MACDC member organizations to identify and commit to specific, actionable steps toward racial equity within the context of their community and mission. As organizers we will work with our respective organizations to create change, and the collective action represented by the pledge is what is needed to break down the systems that have created and enabled racial inequity to persist. It is exciting to see the work that has already begun with The Neighborhood Developers and several other organizations across Massachusetts,” said Sharon Fosbury, Director of Community Building at The Neighborhood Developers.

MACDC has taken the pledge as we believe it is important to keep ourselves accountable from the inside. To jump start our learning and mutual accountability, we have hosted meetings both for those members who have adopted the pledge already and those considering it. Through the Mel King Institute, we are also offering member-only workshop opportunities to support members in the implementation.  For more information, and to see who signed on so far, visit the Racial Equity webpage.