Girls Write Now stands in solidarity with the movement for racial justice and equality of all marginalized races, and the intersectional coalition of artists, activists and organizations fighting for justice. For over two decades, we have dedicated our mission to breaking down the barriers of race and poverty to elevate the voices of girls and gender-expansive youth who are too often not heard—or worse, silenced.
And we still have much work to do to become an anti-racist organization. At Girls Write Now, we believe it is our responsibility to be leaders in modeling action that supports the next generation and ensures that together we are well equipped to better our current realities and potential futures.
In 2020, we mounted a comprehensive, multi-year racial justice strategic planning process involving stakeholders across and around the community to explore all aspects of the organization, to educate, to open new lines of communication—and to enact change. We will combine the perspectives and experiences of our wide-ranging constituents with racial justice experts, applying tested tools and approaches to meet everyone wherever they are on the continuum of awareness and engagement.
This process is guided by principles established by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond for an effective, broad-based movement for social transformation: Analyzing Power, Developing Leadership, Gatekeeping, Identifying and Analyzing Manifestations of Racism, Learning from History, Maintaining Accountability, Sharing Culture, Undoing Internalized Racial Oppression—and Undoing Racism.
Our strategic planning is an iterative process and we will make modifications and course-corrections as we go. As we continue to engage in activities rooted in racial justice, this process will give us new perspective, offer a critical lens, and allow us to apply lessons learned in real time.
Our work will take place in three dovetailing stages:
Stage I: Planning to Plan
- Introducing plan framework to Staff, Board, Mentors & other key stakeholders, and incorporating feedback
- Building core cross-sectional team to guide strategic process
- Reimagining Diversity Committee and recruitment of new members
- Reinforcing DEI HR best practices, including hiring recruiter to increase diverse networks and candidates for new roles
- Deepening and more directly expressing racial justice through our curriculum, literature, speakers and activities (e.g. Community Chats, Wellness Wednesdays, Girls Write Now Live Series, and mentee/mentor “Pod” structure)
- Selecting racial justice experts for foundational trainings
Stage II: Trainings & Talent
—> Incorporating more diversity training into mentor professional development
—> Sponsoring a series of four foundational trainings with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond required for Staff, Board, Diversity Committee members, and strongly encouraged for active mentors
—> Ongoing professional development and leadership trainings such as debriefs, workshops, listening sessions, learning circles, caucuses, or other
—> Researching and securing experts to guide Stage III organizational transformational planning
—> Onboarding new Diversity Committee members and implementation of new committee workplan
—> Search and hiring of full-time Talent Manager to play a lead role in Racial Justice Strategic Planning, build out Girls Write
Now’s Fellowship Program, and place mentors and mentees in jobs and internships across industries, among other DEI initiatives
—> Planning for 2021-22 program year anchored by racial justice and our ongoing commitment to diverse authors and teaching artists
—>Creating infrastructure and beta publishing platform positioning the voices and stories of our diverse community front and center
Stage III: Planning for Organizational Transformation
Working towards transformation into an anti-racist institution, we will define our strategic priorities and initiatives for racial justice around the following spheres of activity:
- Values, Vision & Culture: Discussing, refining and redefining Girls Write Now’s specific goals with respect to equity, justice, anti-racism, and anti-oppression in order to get clear on values, envisioning the organization we want to have, and articulating the kind of culture that will nurture and sustain it.
- Operational Practices: Assessing, adapting, building, and re-building systems, supports, and processes internally and externally that will help create a diverse composition of leaders and stakeholders, and engendering a culture to enable retention of that diverse talent, leading to the inclusive, equitable, diverse organization we seek.
- Programmatic Expression: Engaging with Girls Write Now’s historical and current curricula, programs, and events to identify new equity-building, community-building opportunities the organization can work towards.
Once we align on our strategic priorities, we will lay out corresponding initiatives with specific targets and timelines—i.e. develop an “implementation plan” (or “action plan”) to accomplish all of our remaining goals for the future.