OEP Anti-Racism Transformation Team (ARTT)

ARTT 20-Year Vision Statement for OEP (2015):

On Earth Peace board, staff, practitioners, and programs are unapologetically multiracial/ multicultural, driven by an anti-racist, anti-oppression lens toward the transformation of society.

Who we are:

Formed in 2016, the ARTT is a racially-diverse, all-volunteer, long-term leadership team made up of OEP board members, staff members, constituents and supporters.

We guide the OEP board, staff and other stakeholders in becoming a transformed, inclusive, multicultural, anti-racist institution and seek to hold the organization accountable to its anti-racist vision and commitment.

We are a nine-member team and strive for racial and gender balance while also seeking diversity in other social identities, life experience, & skill sets.

What we do:

The ARTT provides vision, leadership, education, and coordination to the work of dismantling institutional racism within On Earth Peace.

We identify and reveal the ways racism is embedded in and perpetuated by the structure of our organization and we lead the organization to correct racist policies, practices and behaviors.

Ultimately we seek to support the board, staff and other stakeholders in building an anti-racist institutional identity, culture and practice.

What we have achieved:

Since its inception, the ARTT has helped guide OEP to:

  • Require that all new board and staff members participate in anti-racism training in an effort to build a common language and understanding around racism within the organization
  • Hold board meetings in People of Color majority locations.
  • Adopt regular racial caucusing (definition below)
  • Align hiring policies and practices with our antiracist commitments
  • Introduce racial caucusing into our board of directors leadership selection process
  • Build anti-racism and anti-oppression analysis into the fabric of all staff program planning, implementation and reporting
  • Sustain and center its anti-racist commitments

How we work:

The ARTT is a geographically dispersed team made up of members serving three year terms. We all meet by conference call once a month and in person at least once a year, in addition to sub-committee meetings and work in between meetings. We seek to be spiritually grounded, reflective of personal prejudices and participation in perpetuating racism, and continue to grow in our understanding of how institutional racism functions.

Racial caucusing is also a critical part of our team life. Racial caucusing is a small-group meeting strategy whereby white people and people of color meet separately to consider how the two sides of white supremacy (racial superiority and racial oppression) are affecting team life and work.

White members of the team consider how internalized racial superiority is affecting their thoughts and behavior while people of color consider how internalized racial oppression is likewise affecting their thoughts and behavior. The two groups then reconvene to share their insights. By each racial group separately considering and taking responsibility for how racism is impacting the team, we believe that we are more equipped to address it.

Who we work with:

The ARTT partners with Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training, one of the oldest anti-racist training organizations in the United States. Crossroads has provided eye-opening antiracism training to the board and staff, guided OEP though an internal racism audit, trained the ARTT to carry out its transformational work of dismantling racism within OEP, as well as providing continued support throughout the process.

How we understand racism and anti-racism:

Racism: We understand racism to be a combination of racial prejudice plus a misuse of institutional and systemic power.

Institutional Racism: From the very beginning of American history, Euro-Americans intentionally and legally structured all U.S. institutions to serve white society exclusively or advantageously. Institutional racism is the result of institutions structured to unevenly benefit white people and to function without accountability to people of color (from Crossroads).

Institutional Anti-Racism: Institutional Anti-racism is a process of developing an organizational anti-racist consciousness, culture, and identity, as well as institutionalizing new structures of accountability and authority to anti-racist people and communities of color (adapted from Crossroads).

We believe that institutional racism adversely affects the historically white church and peace and justice nonprofit organizations that outwardly reject racist beliefs in principle.

We do not believe that On Earth Peace is exempt from the legacies of our country’s racist history, the temptation to privilege or center whiteness, and the difficulties of anti-racist and cross-racial relationship, accountability and reconciliation.

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