Triangle’s Racial Equity and Disability Task Forces Lead the Way
Staff-led efforts at the agency were recently funded with a significant grant from the Commonwealth
Since 2020, Triangle, Inc. has committed to building a more inclusive culture that understands and values the concepts of racial equity and disability justice. This journey began with a core group of employees coming together in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing racial upheaval experienced in communities around the United States. Together, they formed the organization’s first Racial Equity Task Force in June 2020. This group developed and distributed a survey to all Triangle staff members to better assess the needs for future racial equity work within the organization. The survey results indicated a need to create more spaces and opportunities for racial equity dialogs as part of our workplace culture. To ensure these efforts were done with the highest level of quality and care, Triangle hired Tonya Lovelace of Lovelace Consulting Services, Inc. to recommend and facilitate a series of activities to promote a stronger workplace culture that promotes racial equity. Thus far, these efforts include the following actions:
- Ms. Lovelace conducted 114 one-to-one Triangle staff interviews to learn more about how race intersects with their duties at Triangle and their personal experiences.
- Since the beginning of FY22 (July 1, 2021), Triangle’s executive leadership team has held nearly 30 racial equity trainings, totaling more than 40 hours of intensive examinations of bias, microaggressions, white privilege, structural racism, and intersectionality.
- Triangle has created an ombudsperson role so any member of the Triangle community can bring thoughts, concerns, or personal experiences for informal assistance and support without retribution and receive education on specific aspects of racial equity in cases where errors have occurred.
- Our Human Resources team has begun reevaluating job descriptions, recruitment strategies, and internal promotion processes to better reflect best practices in promoted racial equity.
- Mandatory all-staff trainings that include cross-department conversations have helped established shared definitions and convey personal experiences related to race in the workplace.
To bolster this work now and into the future, Triangle, Inc. applied for and received a generous grant of $138,000 in ARPA (America Rescue Plan) recruitment and retention funding made available to Community- and Home-Based Service organizations under the purview of the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services. This support will fund the ongoing work of the Racial Equity Task Force as it continues to lead and inform trainings, dialogues, and resources for the organization. Excitingly, this investment in our work will allow us to embark upon a similar process to examine disability justice under the leadership of EPIC Founder and Executive Director Jeff Lafata-Hernandez. The first meeting of the Disability Justice Task Force will take place in February 2023 and will offer ableism and disability education sessions to all new Triangle staff members, hold department-specific trainings, and work with Triangle’s Human Resources team to examine accommodation and disability inclusion policies for the organization.
As a disability service provider with diverse groups of program participants, students, and employees, it is absolutely essential that we examine intersectionality, which describes how some people who experience ableism, for example, may also experience other forms of discrimination based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and/or other identities that are often marginalized, all at the same time.
As part of our commitment to the work of our Racial Equity and Disability Justice Task Forces, Triangle will begin sharing more information with you, the larger Triangle community of families, program participants, employment partners, donors, and community champions, on these subjects. Launching later this month in recognition of Black History Month, the Racial Equity Task Force will be publishing posts, reflections, and profiles on their work and how intersectionality plays into our work every day.