JJAB and Anti-Racist Practices
from Resource Specialist Jamie Allbach
We’re unique at JJAB. We aren’t all social workers but we all do social work. We aren’t emergency responders, and yet we are often called to respond and support soon after family emergencies. And, while one may assume our work is inherently unbiased as we strive to serve all youth who live or attend school in Los Alamos County with equally-dogged determination, there is ALWAYS a need for anti-racism practices within any organization, especially those functioning within systems that were built upon racist foundations (i.e. social work, education, etc.).
Anti-racism is ACTIVELY opposing and dismantling social, cultural, and structural instances of racism.
While it’s easy to say “I’m not racist”, it’s much harder to prove that we do not uphold racism in our practices and our institutions. It’s also quite easy to cry out in alarm about Tyre Nichols being beaten to death by police, and it’s much harder to recognize and eliminate our own words that contribute to the villainizing of black men. It is easy to admire heroes who build community in “the valley”, and it is harder to tear down the dichotomy between Espanola and Los Alamos because our friends tell us “it’s not about race”. This is a much bigger conversation than a nonprofit newsletter allows, and yet I am going to take this opportunity to highlight ways in which we at JJAB practice anti-racism. I see us doing these things, AND I hope to see us do more.
- Speak up about racism, microaggressions, and racial injustice.
- Complete training or courses on anti-racism, micro-aggression and unconscious bias.
- Document our commitment to promote anti-racism, racial equity and social justice.
- Learn how racism affects the health of those around us, and bring this learning into our circles of control.
- Call out racism when we see it at home or at work. This could be blatant racism, or it could be racial disparities we notice at work. It’s important for us to ask why these disparities exist.
- Connect with and support organizations that represent racially-diverse leadership and/or promote racial justice in our community, city or state.
- Examine the racial diversity within our own organization and question where we see gaps, especially in leadership positions.
- Approach the racism some of our clients experience with open ears, open minds, and resources that chip away at the systemic mental and physical health crisis that is racism.
This is not an exhaustive list, but committing to the work listed above can be exhausting. This is especially true for those who experience racism daily. At JJAB, we both allow our practices to be guided by the wisdom of folks who feel racism in the most personal ways, and know that much of this work must be shouldered by those of us who are protected by white privilege, regardless of our socio-economic past or present.
What would you add to this list? What anti-racism practices do you expect of the organizations you support? I’d love to hear from you and share your thoughts with our staff and leadership. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.