KFTC beginning a Racial Justice Assessment and Visioning process | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

KFTC beginning a Racial Justice Assessment and Visioning process

Late this spring, KFTC began a Racial Justice Assessment and Visioning process. This update is the first of what will likely be an ongoing series where we’ll share updates on what we’re learning, activities we’re engaging in, and potential next steps as we go through this process. 

In June 2018, the KFTC Steering Committee held a racial justice workshop for its summer retreat. Coming out of the workshop were three ideas the Steering Committee wanted to explore: 1) a racial justice audit or assessment of KFTC’s overall work; 2) a People of Color Caucus for members and staff; and 3) a Racial Justice Advisory Committee. 

After further discussion, the People of Color Caucus has gotten underway and the Steering Committee put on hold the Racial Justice Advisory Committee until after we go through the assessment process.

The Executive Committee authorized contracting with a consultant to assist with the assessment process. We developed a robust “request for proposals” (RFP) that outlined who we are, what we’re looking for in this process and characteristics of a good match. We received more than a dozen strong applications from around the country. 

A team of leaders and staff was convened to review the proposals and work toward a choice. That team conducted interviews with the top six or seven firms and followed up conversations and reference checks with the top two. 

In the end, the team was excited to recommend Frontline Solutions for the contract. Frontline is a Black-owned and led consulting firm that has some experience in working with groups in the South. There was a good rapport with them, and we found that their skills, experiences and knowledge were well aligned with our RFP. We have signed a contract and the assessment and visioning process are underway. The assessment will likely wrap up by the end of February 2020.

The assessment process will involve an analysis of KFTC’s strengths and challenges in racial justice – internally (systems, structures, processes, policies, staffing, leadership, etc.) and externally (our issue campaigns, our allies, etc.). Once we have an understanding of these strengths and gaps, we will work with Frontline on a visioning process in which we’ll map out where we want to be over the next 3-5 years and the steps for getting there.

One of the primary areas identified by KFTC and people of color allies is the need to build political power to win by bringing people of color and poor and working class folks together across the state. KFTC is in a unique position – as a majority white organization in an overwhelmingly (88 percent) white state – to organize low-income and working class white folks in a way that is centered in a racial justice analysis. 

That work lies in meeting folks where they are, engaging them in learning about racial justice, privilege and mutual self-interest in order to build commitment to organizing together across race and class. 

At the same time, we aspire to be a more multi-racial and welcoming organization with more leaders and staff of color. Those two goals don’t necessarily exist in tension with one another, but it’s also not always clear how to pursue both simultaneously and synergistically. 

We’re excited to begin this assessment and visioning process with Frontline Solutions and are hopeful that it will give us the lessons, tools and strategies to pursue both these important goals with success. We also believe that this process will also give us insight into the strength and challenges facing our overall programs and organization. 

And we’re looking forward to sharing updates with our membership and being as transparent as possible about the process along the way. 

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