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HCG is a broad-based group of trainers, teachers and experts from multiple disciplines committed to deep diversity, equity and social justice. The purpose of our newsletter is to share what we're up to and to highlight resources, organizations and folks in the struggle working for a more equitable and healthy world. We are so thankful to be in community with you and  welcome your feedback.  If you have content you would like to share with our online learning community of
over 2,300 people, please send it our way.

“To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.”  ―
bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
Table of Contents
  • HCG Highlights - Portland Community College Podcast and Keynote and Panel Discussions from the Equity in the Center Summit
  • Featured Upcoming HCG Presentations & Events - ACPA and White Privilege Conferences coming up March, 2019.  Don't miss Dr. Heather Hackman at either.
  • Featured Organization - Black Futures Lab
  • Conferences & Events We Support - A list of recommendations for upcoming conferences and events focused on racial, economic, social, environmental and food justice.
  • Recommended Resources - Videos, articles, blog posts, podcasts, current research & other links we've learned from and liked recently! Let us know if you have something to add, or like our HCG Facebook page for more of this kind of content.
  • Climate Change Corner - Dr. Heather Hackman finds hope in the UN's 17 Global Sustainability Goals and their connection to social justice work
  • Training Tidbit - Thinking about creating a "Diversity Statement" for your organization?  Before you do, read this important advice from Dr. Hackman
HCG Highlight

Dr. Hackman was recently featured in a podcast for Portland Community College's Environmental Justice Podcast,
PCC, Sustain Me!

Check out Dr. Heather Hackman's keynote address at the 2018 Equity in the Center Summit last month in Baltimore, MD.

View a panel discussion, "What Would an Equity Consultant Do? Strategic, Management & Operational Insights from Expert Practitioners" Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Featured Upcoming HCG Presentations & Conference Workshops
Dr. Hackman will be delivering  pre-conference and conference workshops at ACPA 2019.
March 3-6, 2019
Boston, MA
Dr. Heather Hackman will be delivering a keynote address at the 2019 White Privilege Conference

March 20-23 in Cedar Rapids, IA
Cedar Rapids Convention Complex
Registration opens Jan. 1!
Featured Organization
Black Futures Lab works with Black people to transform communities, building Black political power and changing the way that power operates—locally, statewide, and nationally. Black Futures Lab has two programs: the Black Imagination Incubator and the Shirley Chisholm “Unbought and Unbossed” Black Politics Project. 

The Black Imagination Incubator is made up of two projects: 1.) The Black Census Project (fill out at button below), which gathers information about the ways that policy affects Black communities and 2.) Black to the Future, which uses that information creatively to educate and challenge policymakers.

The Shirley Chisholm “Unbought and Unbossed” Black Politics Project named after Shirley Chisholm (the first Black woman to run for President of the United States) honors her legacy by focusing on the power of the Black vote and building up the newest generation of Black progressive political candidates. The Black Politics Project brings together community engagement; community mobilization and education; policy and alternative policy models; and active engagement and advocacy with elected officials and legislators. The four interlinking projects are My Politics are Black; Black Candidates; Black-run Political Campaigns; and Black Campaign Financing.

Fill out the Black Census Here | This survey was created to understand the opinions of the Black community and will take about 15 minutes to complete. Your participation is voluntary, and you may withdraw at any time and skip any questions that make you feel uncomfortable. All of your responses are confidential and only reported without information that could identify you.
Conferences & Events We Support
RootSkills Conference
December 7-8, 2019 in Worcester, MA

CTA Equity & Human Rights Conference
March 1-3, 2019 in San Jose, CA

Diversity Abroad Conference
March 2-5, 2019 in Boston, MA

March 3-6, 2019 in Boston, MA

National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Ed. Annual Conference
March 6-9, 2-19 in Philadelphia, PA

White Privilege Conference 20
March 20-23, 2019 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Association of American Colleges & Universities
Diversity, Equity, and Student Success Conference
March 28-30, 2-19 in Pittsburgh, PA

National Summit for Educational Equity
April 28-May 2, 2019 in Arlington, VA

NCORE Conference
May 28-June 1, 2019 in Portland, OR

International Drug Policy Reform Conference
Nov. 6-9, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri

Recommended Articles & Resources
Like our facebook page and check out fresh resources on the regular!
Drought, crop failure, storms, and land disputes pit the rich against the poor, and Central America is ground zero for climate change.
Rev. William Barber: Tear Gassing Central American Migrants is Inhumane, Unconstitutional, Immoral
Democracy Now
On the latest episode of Patriot Act, Hasan Minhaj looks at America’s immigration enforcement laws and how the Trump administration seems to ignore the growing threat of right-wing terrorism while demonizing immigrants and refugees.
Trump Administration Downplays Damning Climate Change Report

Produced by 300 scientists, it shows that global warming—which disproportionately impacts people of color—will wreak havoc on the United States’ economy, public health, coastlines and infrastructure.


One Way to Skip Wall Street and Invest in Your Community
YES! Magazine

Take it from someone who gave away his inheritance 35 years ago: The act of distributing your wealth will propel you forward.
Native attitudes toward healing can help put
philanthropy on a more sacred path.

YES! Magazine
Native American Lives Are Tragic, But Probably Not in the Way You Think
“No matter what we write, white people can turn our stories into weapons.”
How my hospital ID has become an “I exist” card.

YES! Magazine
The Guide to Farming While Black
Mother Jones

Leah Penniman’s new book is part memoir, part technical manual.

A new study suggests that the gender wage gap is much wider than previously thought.

Reproductive Rights Did Not Win the Midterm Elections

From state constitution changes to the revocation of an Obama-era birth control rule, things are changing.

Common Brings Zora Neale Hurston's 'Barracoon' to TV

He will adapt the long-unreleased book, about the last known enslaved person to survive the Middle Passage, into a limited series.

The Lawsuit That’s Claiming a Constitutional Right to Education
The Atlantic

A new federal complaint with a unique argument accuses the state of Rhode Island of failing to provide students with the skills they need to participate effectively in a democracy.

Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court to Uphold Trans Military Ban

The administration wants the ban to go into effect even though cases against it haven't made their way through federal courts.
Outdoor Recreation Isn’t Just for Privileged White Folks Anymore
YES! Magazine

These organizations help kids of all economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds benefit from adventures in nature.
Climate Change Corner
By Dr. Heather Hackman

In October the annual AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) conference was held in Pittsburgh and the focus was on the UN’s 17 Global Sustainability Goals (and why they demand a social justice lens). I have that last part in parentheses because while it might not have been an explicit part of the conference, the nature of these 17 goals has an implicit connection to social justice work and the need for knowledge regarding ESJ content. Now, I know that there is no such thing as climate change, the earth is flat and the moon really is made of cheese, but on the outside chance that the climate is changing, that we actually are in the Anthropocene, and that the time is actually running out before we hits limits that make the future for our species exceedingly difficult, I want to turn attention to these 17 goals and why they hold such hope.
First, they honor the facts of this current moment. The days of recycling, LEDs and composting as key moves for climate change are long gone (please still do all of that though), and the new era of steep cuts into “business as usual” is upon us. The UN’s plan does not mince words in this regard and that is in part what makes it a refreshing body of pseudo-policy touchpoints. And while no global plan is going to be perfect, the 17 GSGs can be used as leverage in regional, state and local policy conversations in order to help us all move to the mark. The recent IPCC report said that by 2030 we’d better have ourselves in a very different place regarding climate change, and these 17 goals would substantially help shepherd in that level of change. Again, they’re not perfect, but they are a powerful starting place because they are scaled to our current reality.
Second, they are unapologetically ambitious. For example, I love that one of them does not say “reduce poverty”, instead it says “zero poverty”. Zero! In the UN’s mind, there simply is no space for poverty in a world as rich and abundant as ours. I love it, not just for its boldness, but because it’s true. In the process of leaning into it we as a global society are forced to analyze issues of over-consumption, hoarding, what is “enough”, and the perennial Western challenge of endlessly conflating want for need. Ending all poverty cannot be achieved by charity or philanthropy. It can only be achieved by a realigning of our global sense of what our real needs are and the way material wealth has been confused with human security. This goal gets to the roots of economic justice work and thereby has a direct and powerful impact on the causes of climate change as well as pushes us toward a more sustainable world.
Third, they reflect not just a response to climate change but a response to the failures of our various societies. We’ve built cities with little thought to living systems, we’ve structured our energy grids in ways that do not allow for growth and specifically renewable change, and we’ve built economies on limited views of markets and social needs. I could go on, but those are just a few examples of how our lack of imagination, the motive of short term gains over long term needs, and the ideologies of systems of inequity and oppression have left our global society in a crisis situation. But working toward those 17 goals through a social justice lens affords us an opportunity to transform those short-sighted mistakes and create human communities that do not place profit over people but that serve the entirety of our human community. We all do better when we all do better and the UN’s 17 GSGs are an example of that truth.
Fourth, they are long-term. It took quite some time to get into this mess, it will take quite some time to get out. The scale of climate change happening now is so massive that it is difficult to note it with the “naked eye”. Unlike a localized earthquake or tornado, this is a deep pattern of change that is engulfing our entire planet. I just read a study that said the oceans have absorbed more heat than previously thought. When a backyard pool hearts up, you notice it fairly quickly. When the globe’s entire ocean system heats up, it’s a little tougher. As such, many deny that change is happening because they “can’t see it”. The UN’s goals do not pander to this and instead hold as absolute truth that the climate is drastically changing and that humans are largely responsible. The generational approach of these GSGs therefore is therefore the correct path. A social justice lens supports this long-term vision because it, too, considers the long-term impacts of our current systems and structures.
Taken collectively, the 17 GSGs are an exciting proposition in a climate moment where each report more clearly points to the fact that we’re in trouble. I definitely need these as a touchstone, not just for the larger picture but for the immediate and direct decisions I make in my life. If attention to waterways and oceans is critical on a global scale, I can be much more focused on what I put into my local watershed via my home’s various sources of wastewater. What is good on the large scale is also good in the everyday. I encourage you to examine these 17 GSGs and send the link to your local, state and federal representatives.
Training Tidbit
“Cart Before the Horse”
By Dr. Heather Hackman

I was at a conference recently when someone who I met over a decade ago said that they were now a diversity consultant and that they would love to get together some time. I am always a little hesitant about these invitations because it seems one cannot throw a stick without hitting someone who is now a “diversity consultant”. Thus, these conversations tend to either be a little on the superficial side because folks are new to the work, or they are transactional because the person is trying to learn from me “how to start to be a diversity consultant”. Neither feel like authentic engagements. Moreover, this is not at all a field where one “sets out to be a diversity consultant”. These are incredibly difficult issues that inform whether people in our society live or die and therefore should never be treated as one of many possible vocations or even avocations.
Case in point, a few months ago I was speaking to a client whose previous consultant “had always had diversity as an interest, but now that they had retired, thought they would try their hand at consulting”. The “pitch” session this person delivered to the university’s leadership was superficial, highly palatable to those in the room with little knowledge on the subject and severely wanting for those in the room with more knowledge, and did not challenge a single element of the core power dynamics at play within their institution. The end result was a tepid conversation about difference but zero change. With “consultants” like this it is not hard to see why many institutions are left without the clarity necessary to do deep change-based equity work across sectors.
In addition to the above, one of the most dire consequences of this lack of experience in my field is the inevitable focus on creating “Diversity Statements” as a starting point for an organization’s work. It is quite understandable why many consultants who are new to this work, as well as many Executive Directors, CEOs, and university presidents, see this as an obvious starting point – “identify your goals and work toward them”. But with Equity / Social Justice (ESJ) work, it actually does not work that way. Developing a statement about who an organization is and what they intend to “do” regarding ESJ work before building the awareness, skill and capacity for the work has two core problems; 1.) it essentially leaves organizations trading on something they do not yet have (but are telling the world they do), and 2.) it is likely a bad statement because it was developed without an equity lens to inform it.
Speaking to the first point, when an organization puts forth its “equity plan” or “DEI strategy” before it has done internal organizing, assessment, training, and capacity building, it is badly putting the cart before the horse. Such an approach tells its external partners and internal staff to expect the organization to be able to live up to the “statement”, which they invariably cannot because the statement was the very first thing they did. When they do eventually fall badly short of the ambition of said statement, it leads to a lack of faith by external partners and real tension for internal staff. The ultimate result is that the organization is seen as taking a superficial, “check the box” stance on equity issues and is not trusted with respect to ESJ work.

Second, without an equity lens to inform the development of an organizations’ plan, its contents tend to reflect the lack of knowledge of those who created it, i.e. water finds its own level. Training often is an essential part of an organization’s work around equity, but when it happens after the plan has been developed it is akin to designing a building and then taking an architecture / engineering class. Specific outcomes of this dynamic are the plan’s lack of focus on real equity because of its conflation with diversity, its goals being inconsistent, not strategic, and not developmental, and its overall outcomes not often connected to deep organizational change.
To counter falling into this trap, here are some concrete steps organizations can take:

1. Establish an internal organizing and leadership group for this work. - Having an internal group, rather than just one person, taking point on this work insures more buy in, more accountability, and better vetting of the consultant you hire. This allows you to take a developmental approach rather than an immediate implementation approach. This group is charged with hiring a consultant who knows how to do long-term organizational change work regarding equity / social justice content.
2. Assess your organization for its developmental level regarding ESJ work – Never develop a statement about where you want to go if you have no idea of where you are (and where you have been). That’s like putting coordinates into your GPS without a starting location – you have no real sense at all of where you are going or even how to start your journey.
3. Train to develop and “equity lens” – This is the bulk of what we offer organizations but it is nestled in the middle of these other elements. The training is always framed as “lens” work and an introductory level at that. It is expected that this initial training will be augmented with work (developed in part by the planning team) that is more complex, intersectional and ongoing so as to help an organization continually refine its knowledge, skill and capacity for ESJ work.
4. Develop a loose ESJ statement to support internal work – It is at this point that we recommend organizations develop an internal statement about ESJ work to be used as a guidepost for their internal development as well as a way to keep them on track for this work via specific, measurable and accountable goals. This internal statement is also a bit of a beta test for what an external statement should or could look like.
5. Apply that lens internally for P4 change - It is this lens and statement that allows the organization to begin the process of transforming its internal policies, practices and procedures. The task of doing so gives the organization even more insight into the challenges of implementing this work and gives the organizational ESJ leadership enough credibility to then develop an “equity statement”.
6. Develop an external facing and more permanent “statement” – Only after completing the previous steps does the organization have enough internal capacity and enough credibility to make any kind of public commitment to equity. This does not mean that the internal work stops, it just means that it happens simultaneous to what is now also external work.
We have found that when it comes to “developing an equity statement, if organizations follow this general course of action, the eventual ESJ statement they develop will have accuracy, depth, breadth, measurability, authenticity and growth automatically built into it. There is no real effort in producing it as it tends to emerge from all the previous steps. Putting the cart before the horse, however, is an inevitable recipe for failure and therefore we suggest organizations adopt the above approach in working toward equity internally and externally.
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