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Racial Equity Toolkit

Social justice and racial equity are critical issues that everyone needs to understand before any change can happen. Only when we learn about the inequity in our justice system and the racial discrimination in our communities can we truly begin the journey of understanding the problem.

The Racial Equity Institute has developed a metaphor to help individuals understand that we live in a racially structured society which is what causes and perpetuates racial inequity. The "Groundwater" metaphor is a great first step in understanding the structural and cultural roots of racial inequity. The metaphor is based on three observations:

  1. racial inequity looks the same across systems,

  2. socio-economic difference does not explain the racial inequity; and,

  3. inequities are caused by systems, regardless of people's culture or behavior.

An updated document can be found here.

In addition to the Groundwater Approach by REI, we recommend reading these books to further your journey to better understand the black experience, the history of racism in this country, and the ongoing need for white allies.

There is a growing list of additional resources available to help anyone interested in becoming an ally and eventually accomplices in anti-racism work. The "Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resource list can be found here.


No person can improve their understanding of a topic without investing the time to read and explore their own feelings, emotions, and history with the topic. To achieve real growth, progress, and reverse years of programming you have to put in the time.

If you want to go deep and really challenge yourself to be honest with your own anti-blackness consider doing the exercise in "A New Knapsack: Unpacking Your Anti-Blackness" by Kim Tran, Ph.D. - solidarity worksheet.

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