In early June, we wrote about the anger and anguish that was shared across communities after the murder of George Floyd reignited the enduring fight to address the cycle of violence and inequitable treatment against black people and other people of color, not only in the criminal justice system, but across societal systems.
In October, while news coverage has largely turned its spotlight elsewhere, the reality has not changed and the necessity to remain focused on racial injustice continues. Therefore, the need for deliberate, engaged focus in all aspects of our work at The Conflict Center also continues.
Throughout the summer and into the fall, our staff and board have continued our internal work towards building an equitable and inclusive organization, engaging in ongoing education at both the staff and board levels. We know that training and education are not an end, but rather the catalyst for concrete changes to policy and practice. In March we were selected to participate in The Denver Foundation’s Landscape Project on racial equity in Metro Denver. With the Foundation’s support, TCC and more than a dozen other area organizations are undertaking research and learning projects to embed practices that promote internal and external racial equity. Our participation in this Cohort amplifies our deliberate, continuous engagement in all aspects of our work. As part of this work, we have engaged in a cultural relevance audit of our Addressing Conflict And Anger Effectively youth class and are in the process of updating our curriculum. We will then expand that audit to our adult curriculum as well. In terms of internal work, we have been engaged in a months long process of changing our HR processes to ensure equitable hiring practices. These are just two examples of what we know must be ongoing, continuous work. There is no “done” when it comes to ensuring that we are embodying our values and know that the process of addressing systemic inequity is dynamic and evolving.
These actions are reinforced by our ongoing work to address systems and center community voice. We continue to strive to build communities that work collaboratively toward de-escalating conflict and that embed restorative practices. Restorative Denver is one example of that work; as we continue to scale that program for sustainability. Community voice is a core component of Restorative Denver and we are committed to ongoing recruitment of volunteers who reflect the demographics of the city of Denver. In addition, our Social Norming is built on positive youth development principles which are deliberate in the engagement of youth in the co-creation of the program. And we are growing this approach in all of our youth focused work. We also know that conflict transformation and restorative culture include recognizing and addressing the role that identity and bias play in all of our interpersonal interactions as well as the role systemic power and privilege play in our institutions.
We are not sharing these to pat ourselves on the back but rather to report on the promise we made in June and to invite our constituents to hold us accountable as we continue this work into the future.