Values: Centering Social Justice and Racial Equity

About a year ago, our board determined its most important role would be to ensure the actions of the organization are walking the talk of our values… an Integrity Board.

To that end, we first encoded that role into our bylaws, creating plain English bylaws that describe how decisions are made, by whom, and according to what guideposts. Those guideposts again come back to our values.

All that has led to our re-looking at our Statement of Our Values in Action – a document that was last considered 3 years ago. And if one thing is clear, in the cold, clear light of 2020, it is that our statement was missing the explicit reference to social justice and racial equity that is the “why” of our work towards systems change.

Why are we focusing on systems change as our mission?
Because the current systems in which all of us operate are rooted in power and privilege. 

The word "onward" chiseled into rust-colored stoneLast month, several board members gathered to take a first stab at re-writing our Values Statement, to reflect that “why.” Then at our November board meeting, we dug more deeply into that draft, to ensure it reflects our intention.

As we seek to recruit new board members and expand our working teams, it will be imperative that these values both guide that recruitment and serve as the touchpoint for all the work we do.

That is where YOU come in.

What you will see below is the work we accomplished at our November meeting – a preamble to our values, and a bullet-point summary of those values. Once those pieces are solid, we will be reconfiguring the entirety of our Statement of Our Values in Action. But until we are clear about those values, how can we say what they will look like in action?

That is why we are asking you to help us. 

Given the intention we have crafted in the preamble and the bullet points we have listed (below)…
• Do the values below feel complete to you? Are there questions we are not addressing? If not, what do you feel is missing?
• Are there things you might re-word, to be more specific and explicit about our intentions?
• What questions do these statements and bullet-points raise for you?

• Importantly, would these values entice you to be part of our work? To sit on our board, or to be part of one of our teams? If not, what might help make that so? If yes, what is it that resonates?

Draft Values Statement Preamble and Bullet-Point Summary

At Creating the Future, our mission is systems change, so that the systems we encounter every day are creating conditions that advance everyone’s ability to thrive.

We recognize that many existing systems, conditions, and structures throughout the world are rooted in white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, colonialism, capitalism, ableism etc. These conditions have benefited white people, particularly white cis men, and have systemically extracted power, wealth, labor and resource from Black, indigenous, communities of color, people with disabilities, LGTBQIA people, and our planet as a whole. This has led to a level of inequity that prevents the majority of humans – and our planet – from thriving, and in too many cases, from even surviving.

We believe new systems that advance a healthy, humane, just, and equitable world for everyone are both needed and possible. And we believe that being the change we want to see means walking the talk of our values.

Our values (numbered for reference purposes only. Numbers do not indicate priority):

    1. We value thinking and actions that lead to visionary, systemic change over reactive, incremental thinking and results
    2. We value learning, experimenting, risk-taking, inquiry, and sense-making, and broadly sharing what we learn in those endeavors
    3. We value listening to understand, building trust and relationships, over speed and expediency
    4. We value decision-making by the people affected by any decision
    5. We value centering the voices and agency of those who are most impacted by injustices
    6. We value healthy people and our planet, recognizing the local and the global are intertwined
    7. We value building upon social movements and other efforts that have successfully created systemic change, seeing those efforts as strengths upon which we can build
    8. We value the collaborative work of many and the contributions of individuals to those efforts
    9. We value sharing via Collective Enoughness, celebrating that together we have everything we need

As our learning expands, it is our intent that this be a living document, where future participants feel encouraged to make changes as necessary.

# # #

There is no one document that will be as important to the future of our work than this one. This is going to be the statement that says, “This is what we stand for. This is why we are doing the work we’re doing. This is what we intend to hold ourselves accountable to.”

We are therefore doubly grateful to you for helping us make this as complete as possible. 

1 thought on “Values: Centering Social Justice and Racial Equity”

  1. What is so powerful in our current world is that we’re having these conversations. More and more people are seeing a system that needs fixing.

    What this statement does above all else is show commitment to work on our shortcomings so that together we can make our lives and world better.

    I am not a minority, I am a white woman living in a privileged country, so I can never walk in their shoes and I don’t try. So my only comment would be to make sure you get input from those that feel marginalized. What do people that feel marginalized want? Would they read that and feel they can share their voice?

    I’m definitely inspired.


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