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An Inclusiveness Vision for Maryland

Posted By Adar Ayira, Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 15, 2015

By Adar Ayira, Project Manager, More in the Middle Initiative, Associated Black Charities

In March I had the pleasure of representing Associated Black Charities (ABC) as a keynote speaker at Maryland Nonprofit’s Quality of Life Summit. One of the first discussions focused on participants’ vision for Maryland, and inclusiveness was a part of that vision for some participants.

ABC certainly champions an inclusiveness vision and an equity frame.

In our vision, Maryland has strong businesses and communities with growing industries within our city, suburbs, and rural areas. Our inclusiveness vision is one where access and opportunity are not for a demographic few but for everyone.

At the Quality of Life Summit, I had the pleasure of explaining how this vision and understanding forms the foundation of Associated Black Charities’ "More in the Middle” Initiative.

ABC’s More in the Middle Initiative is a roadmap for creating an economically stronger Maryland in which businesses and families can prosper through:

· educating on and advocating for policies that resolve systemic and structural barriers and open doors of opportunity and access;

· testing new service intervention models that strongly address "personal responsibility” while acknowledging the devastating impacts of structural and institutional racism;

· bridge-building for increased traction and impact;

· actively partnering with organizations and businesses to leverage relationships, partnerships, and strategies; and

· building alliances with national organizations who also support strategies that promote similar policy and program strategies.

Central to our inclusiveness vision is an equity frame.

We understand that – like other areas of the country – Maryland residents are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. In fact, our age 40-and-under populations (overall) are either 50% or just-under 50% people of color; our adopting an equity frame/lens is good business.

An equity frame encourages development of a common worldview, one that acknowledges where we are historically "situationally placed” in society.

Because ABC believes in a vision of Maryland that supports businesses and families, we believe in nonprofits developing policies that incorporate a racial equity lens.

At Maryland Nonprofit’s Quality of Life Summit, we shared information about our document – "Policy Applications of a Racial Equity Lens” – that shared 10 essential questions for policy development, review, and evaluation. That report can be found at www.abc-md.org.

Events like the Quality of Life Summit offer opportunity to share not only the work of our colleagues but to recommit to an inclusiveness vision and offer concrete roadmaps to make the journey.

Tags:  ABC  April 2015 Members' Memo  Diversity  Equity  Inclusiveness 

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