According to Jes, in the work of equity, the wordsmithing of principles isn’t the hard part. For them, the “implementation is the hard part” as questions of accountability, righting wrongs, and what to do when Metro DNA messes up (because we will!) arise. What Jes would love to see is “an across-the-board… continuing” of “deeper understanding of what… equity and justice and inclusion and diversity mean,” which is ongoing and “lifelong work.”
What would a continuation of deeper understanding look like for Metro DNA? Jes pointed to a few ways to keep up the learning about and commitment to equity: putting time and resources into continuing internal learning opportunities, using language that’s mindful of equity in all communications Metro DNA puts out, choosing keynote speakers and vendors that Metro DNA hosts with an equity lens, and showing up to advocate for equity.
Equity work: “You have to have a team of people to do it well… and it’s very individual.” (Jes, cityWILD)
Beyond implementing practices that embody Metro DNA’s commitment to equity, according to Jes, each Metro DNA Equity Committee member has to continuously do the intensely individual work of “soul-searching… learning… mak(ing) mistakes… figur(ing) out how to recover from those mistakes,” and “work(ing) on… unconscious bias.”
Working towards more equitable practices in the work of Metro DNA is, like Jes said, “really deep, emotional work, and it’s exhausting a variety of ways, to constantly have these really painful conversations.” But Metro DNA is ready to embrace the exhaustion and emotions, to inevitably make mistakes and learn from them, to commit to the ongoing learning process and to the individual self-reflection necessary to “aspire to recognize, celebrate, enhance, and protect the diversity of environments, communities, and people comprising the Metro Denver Area” (Metro DNA Equity Principles and Commitments).
Another huge thank you to Jes Rau at cityWILD for taking time to speak with Metro DNA and for the time you put into our Equity Committee on a regular basis! The passion you have for equity, diversity, and inclusion work shows and is infectious.