Our goal is to create a beloved community. and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.
— Martin Luther King Jr.
It is not given to us to know which acts
or by whom will cause the critical mass
to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change
is an accumulation of acts:
adding, adding to, adding more, continuing.
We know that it does not take “everyone on Earth”
to bring justice and peace,
but only a small, determined group
who will not give up during the first,
second or hundredth gale.
-Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Action Communities

Our Action Communities are self-organized by our fellows according to the focal areas of practice that engage their passion to make a difference. The Action Communities that the Alliance is currently organizing are listed below along with contact information about how to get involved and activities underway.

Background

On June 22, 2021 Talk That Walks presented a Leadership Dialogue on Racial Equity in the Culinary Arts. This dialogue was also produced in collaboration with BCAGlobal, the Social Justice Initiative at Bryn Mawr College, and the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Utah. 

The culinary arts industry controls a major portion of the US food system, and there has never been a comprehensive dialogue on racial inequities in the sector—until now. National Conversation: Racial Equity in the Culinary Arts, facilitated a move from conversation to action. The leaders in this dialogue are taking advantage of the global momentum demanding racial equity across systems to focus on our culinary industry, an industry that has built upon—but failed to reward and respect—the knowledge, labor, and ingenuity of enslaved and indigenous people. The June 22 forum featured changemakers Chef Alex Askew (moderator), Chef Njathi Kabui, Chef Adán Medrano and Valerie Spain, coach and consultant for equity and belonging. You can listen to the recorded podcast here:

https://www.allianceofleadershipfellows.org/talk-that-walks/ 

That dialogue evolved into a National Action Community on Racial Equity in the Culinary Sector. This community is now organized around the following strategy for taking action leading to systemic change:

 Truth, Transparency and Reconciliation (TTR)  in the Culinary and Food Service Industry

Truth is a critical ingredient in creating brave spaces for racial equity conversations. The history of this sector includes privilege, power, oppression and the right to own (or not to). Without the trust that comes from truth telling we can’t close the racial disparity gap in the culinary and foodservice industry and the powerful system that’s held it in place for hundreds of years . 

Call to Action: We challenge the culinary and food service industry to adopt the core principle of Truth as an Ingredient in forming employee affinity groups that include strong frameworks for a racial equity conversation with both employees and senior leadership, including reference to tangible goals, objectives and outcomes.

Transparency. Too often, data and statistics describing racial equity within the industry are buried in internal reports that are not shared publicly. Transparent data   is the best way to measure or index a company for fair treatment of employees, racial discrimination and environmental conditions in the workplace. Just as many consumers reading food labels might be inspired to make balanced nutritional choices and respond to  environmental concerns, we need the same transparency when it comes to evaluating racial equity in the largest industry sector nationally and globally.

As global momentum for racial and climate justice builds toward progress, impact investors are key to a holistic solution. At first glance, it appears that racial and climate justice movements run parallel to each other. However, the food system is a significant place of intersection. By deploying conscious capital targeted at a re-envisioned food and agricultural system, impact investors have a unique potential to address racial inequity while building sustainable ecological systems. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2020/12/01/investing-in-racial-equity-across-the-food-system/?sh=375086bc2763).  

Call to Action: We ask all stakeholders to commit to transparency on all levels in their workplaces..

Reconciliation. The goal of racial reconciliation in the industry is to bridge the gap that currently exists preventing cultural cohesion. People of all races misunderstand each other in important ways, contributing to harm rather than healing. Reconciliation processes include public acknowledgement of racist events and post healing activities, like examining and making public the impact of  those activities as well as their historical occurrence. All humans seek community. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. framed the concept of community of Beloved Community. King asserted that “all life is interrelated,” and that  interrelatedness was rooted in the fundamental belief in the kinship of all persons and that kinship was healing. He believed that all life is part of a single process and all persons are sisters and brothers, and have a place in the Beloved Community. Because we are interrelated, we cannot harm another without harming ourself.

Dr. King envisioned the Beloved Community as a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love. He believed in building a Beloved Community through the following calls to action:

1.      Look critically yet gently at the way our actions and behaviors impact other people (intentionally and unintentionally).

2.      Check assumptions.

3-      Cultivate humility.

4.      Give and receive honest feedback.

5.     Learn from honest mistakes..

Our call to action is to engage in this reconciliation and healing process by contributing stories, not only to share within the culinary and food service industry, but also to serve as a best practice for other industries to follow. 

Summary

This National Action Community on Culinary Racial Equity is using a Discord Channel as it’s organizing platform. If you aren’t already on Discord, download it and create an account here. Then send an email to [email protected] for an invitation to join the community. We respect the privacy of the members of this community and so will accept anonymous members at this time.    

ALF’s action communities are interdisciplinary teams composed of experienced leaders passionate about making a difference within their shared thematic focus. ALF’s National Action Community for Health Equity is composed of diverse researchers, scholars, practitioners, community-based advocates and service providers dedicated to achieving the vision of health equity in the United States of America. The National Action Community for Health Equity adopts ALF’s working definition of the terms “equity” and “equitable”:

“Equity and Equitable” refers to a specific commitment to racial equity and also broadly in pursuit of fairness, with compassion and empathy for others, taking into account their welfare from their perspective within the context of building a society that promotes liberty and justice for all. The commitment to equity includes:

  1. Rejection of the idea that there is, or should be, a hierarchy of human value, or a justified difference in the opportunity to flourish, premised on perceived differences in skin, hair or eye color or any other perceived differences in origin, identity or physical appearance among human beings.
  2. Consciousness of, and willingness now to account for, past and present disadvantage in flourishing suffered because of perceived differences in skin, hair or eye color or any other perceived difference in origin, identity or physical appearance that has caused such disadvantage.
  3. Commitment to work toward universal, sustainable human flourishing in which people of all faiths, ethnicities, cultures, income groups, gender identities and sexual orientations, and national and geographic origins have equal opportunities to flourish irrespective of perceived differences in skin, hair or eye color or any other perceived differences in origin, identity or physical appearance.

This National Action Community adopts the definition of Health Equity advanced by the American Public Health Association. Health Equity means that everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Inequities arise as a result of barriers that prevent individuals and communities from reaching their full health potential. Inequities are not the same as health disparities, which are differences in health status between people related to social or demographic factors such as race, gender, income or geographic region. The reduction of health disparities is one way we can measure our progress toward achieving health equity. This Action Community recognizes that structural racism is a force deeply influencing social determinants of health such as employment, housing, education, health care access, public safety and food access. These social determinants can cause health disparities and prevent health equity.

The mission of the ALF’s National Health Equity Action Community includes the following:

  1. Strengthening relationships and teamwork among Health Equity leaders committed to progress.
  2. Surfacing and disseminating current knowledge and best practices for progress in Health Equity initiatives.
  3. Endorsing and credentialing Health Equity curricula and programs developed in partnership with communities of color consistent with the principles of participatory action research.
  4. Identifying and launching system change initiatives where there is consensus about promising approaches to achieving progress toward Health Equity, including actions on public policy.
  5. Forging collaborations for research and development on new technologies, approaches and strategies to achieve breakthrough results that create rapid gains in Health Equity in the United States.

To request information about this Action Community, please contact David Castro at [email protected] or Rashid Njia at [email protected]   David and Rashid are current Board Members of the Alliance.

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