Thursday, December 10, 2020

Antiracism in an Organizational Context: An Example Policy

During 2020, I've been working with a nonprofit on their organizational development, providing an organizational assessment, developing infrastructure, and writing policies. The following is an example of an antiracism policy that intends to support the organization's continued growth in the direction of equity and justice. It is edited to remove identifying details. 


Commitment to Racial Justice

Antiracism Policy, August 2020

__________ recognizes that commitment to and growth in antiracism is a vital part of fulfilling our organizational mission to “__________________.”

Our Anti-Harassment Policy includes a reference to race, color, national origin, ancestry, and citizenship. This document is meant to further clarify what this commitment means to and for our organization and community, including our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities.

We acknowledge that antiracism must be on purpose and ongoing.

We understand that, because of a wide variety of historical and psychosocial factors, discrimination and marginalization on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, and citizenship:

  • Is still common in our society, despite our best aspirations and intentions;

  • Intersects with other systems of discrimination, such as gender and sexuality antagonism, to disproportionately impact the well-being of BIPOC communities; and

  • Occurs not just through direct violence (e.g., a hate crime against an individual), but also through structural (e.g., economic and health disparities, mass incarceration, etc.) and cultural (e.g. dehumanizing stereotypes, cultural appropriation, etc.) violence.

We also understand this discrimination and marginalization and its impacts:

  • Are often hidden from popular awareness, concern, and action;

  • May be carried out, not only intentionally, but also unconsciously or through ignorance; and, so,

  • Must be acknowledged and addressed for the harm that is caused, regardless of intention.

This is why we commit to antiracism practices and policies that are both:

  • On purpose, because we understand that discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, and citizenship has been considered normal and even moral through long stretches of our nation’s history, and dismantling those tendencies and their often unconscious influence on systems and institutions will not happen by accident; and

  • Ongoing, because it will take time, attention, and repetition for antiracist practices, attitudes, and cultures to become established as habit.

Therefore, we, as an organization, are committed to:

  • Becoming more aware of and addressing racism and all forms of discrimination in our organizational culture, structure, and activities;

  • Identifying and eliminating obstacles that prevent BIPOC members from participating fully in and accessing support from and at our organization;

  • Modelling and promoting antiracism practices and policies in our volunteering training, board orientation, community partnerships and programming;

  • Offering community training and education related to antiracism, especially as it intersects with issues related to our mission;

  • Communicating clearly these commitments and expectations to our membership; and

  • Providing accountability and a grievance process to listen to and address any concerns and/or violations.

To fullfil these commitments, we will:

Organizational Structure & Development:

  • Maintain a standing BIPOC committee, which will include at least one board member and at least two members who belong to BIPOC communities;

  • Integrate antiracism principles and practices into volunteer training, board orientation, and board development;

  • Submit this policy statement to the BIPOC Committee for review as part of organizational strategic planning, and update it accordingly;


  • Offer activities and programming that are led and coordinated by BIPOC members, stakeholders, and/or partners;

  • Include funding for BIPOC activities and programming in the Annual Budget;

  • Develop and offer community events and activities related to the intersection of antiracism and our organizational mission;

Accountability & Grievance Policy

  • Consult with the BIPOC Committee in the development and implementation of any accountability and grievance policies;

  • Include BIPOC members in any accountability and grievance processes connected to harm related to issues of race, color, national origin, ancestry, and citizenship, as appropriate and possible (e.g., while maintaining confidentiality);

Further, we require all volunteers to read this document and agree to abide by the following Anti-Harassment Policy regarding discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, and citizenship:

  • ____________ does not tolerate or condone any form of harassment or discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, and citizenship.

  • This policy includes all people involved in the operation of ___________, such as staff, board members, volunteers, contractors, patrons, and vendors.

  • Prohibited behavior includes, but is not limited to:

    • Verbal harassment, such as epithets, derogatory jokes or comments, threats, and slurs, including those that refer to a person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, and/or citizenship;

    • Visual harassment, such as derogatory photos, drawings, gestures, or electronic media transmissions, including those that draw on historical and demeaning caricatures of BIPOC communities;

    • Physical harassment, such as assault or unwanted touching, including when motivated by prejudice based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, and citizenship.

    • Retaliation, or the threat of retaliation, for having reported or threatened to report such harassment.

I, the undersigned Board Member, Employee, or Volunteer, have read and understood the Commitment to Antiracism Policy Statement and agree to abide by it.

Printed Name:                                    Signature:                              Date:

Organzational Representative:           Signature:                             Date: