Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update: February 2021

In an effort to maintain transparency and provide our community with opportunities to hold us accountable in our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work, we wanted to share the concrete action steps we are taking to prioritize DEI as an organization. 

Hiring practices

As some may know, Family Equality is just concluding a search for our next CEO. Our staff and Board of Directors recognized this as an opportunity for deep structural change to usher in a new era for the organization. As such, we began working with a team of consultants at Koya Leadership Partners—a firm that is part of the Diversified Search Group, whose mission is to “diversify leadership across all industries and sectors.” 

Our prioritization of equity in the search and hiring processes extends beyond the role of CEO, as we continue to grow our team. This has included: 

  • Circulating the job posting via diverse hiring websites, listservs, and networks  
  • Expanding our traditional educational requirements to include relevant lived experience
  • Increasing transparency by posting salary and pay range on all job listings 
  • Sending interview questions to applicants prior to interviews

Strengthening Board-staff collaboration 

To ensure that equity and anti-racism is valued at all levels of the organization, Family Equality has created monthly Board & Staff DEI Committee meetings, where we discuss the concrete actions we can (and must) take to further our DEI work internally and externally. 

Assessing Staff DEI Commitments

In the past several months, Family Equality’s staff DEI Committee has been working on identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to our anti-racism and equity work. 

We have also cemented new group goals and commitments to help direct our work moving forward.

Incorporating anti-racism in our policy work 

Family Equality’s policy team has been hard at work ensuring that the fight for legal equality includes all LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit families, especially those from communities that have been historically oppressed. This work has included: 

  • Leading the effort, alongside our campaign co-chairs, to change the mission of the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign to center supportive care for BIPOC children and families in child welfare. View the new campaign mission here
  • Working to support immigrant families by: 
    • Informing immigrants that the December 2020 COVID-19 relief bill now makes them eligible for relief checks. 
    • Mobilizing our families to urge Senators to vote “No” on excluding immigrants from future COVID-19 relief benefits. 
    • Collaborating with Immigration Equality, CAP, and other immigration groups on ending transgender immigration detention. 
  • Releasing a set of 39 policy recommendations for the Biden Administration that center anti-racism, BIPOC LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit people, and those with intersectional identities.
  • Attending multiple convenings about anti-racism in child welfare to inform future policy work, and committing to supporting families of origin to end unjust and disproportionate removals of children from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit families.
  • Ensuring that the needs of tribal LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit children were addressed in the House HHS appropriations bill.
  • Ensuring that nondiscrimination language for people of color, undocumented immigrants, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit people was included in the two House-passed HEROES bills for COVID relief.
  • Working with states to improve child welfare services for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth and families.  
  • Continuing lifting up the voices of and creating connections for BIPOC youth with lived experience in foster care. 

Commemorating Black History Month 

Family Equality’s program and communications teams have developed a number of materials, resources, and events centered around celebrating Black excellence and honoring Black history. This involved: 

  • Hosting a live storytime celebrating Black voices with Bebe Sweetbriar alongside Drag Queen Story Hour. 
  • Releasing a reading and Q&A with Joy Michael Ellison and Teshika Silver, the author and illustrator of Marsha and Sylvia Start a Revolution!: The Story of the Trans Women of Color Who Made LGBTQ+ History  
  • Updating our Black history and anti-racist toolkit with even more opportunities for LGBTQ+ families to learn about Black history—including all-new coloring book pages about Black LGBTQ+ revolutionaries. 
  • Sharing a blog and interview with Jey’nce Mizrahi about the importance of house families in the movement for LGBTQ+ family equality 
  • Working alongside Mombian to spotlight #OwnVoices children’s books by Black creators about Black characters & families on social media

Family Equality is working on making these DEI updates a regular part of our quarterly communications. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about our ongoing efforts to become a more anti-racist organization, please email DEI@familyequality.org