2021 Strategic Priorities: Pandemic Recovery & Advancing Racial Equity
Dear FareStart Community,
From navigating a global pandemic to the continued fight for racial justice, this past year has been both tragic and transformative for FareStart and the world around us.
We want to build back a better FareStart in 2021 and beyond – for our students, our staff and our communities. This year’s priorities address how we will continue to respond to and eventually recover from the pandemic. We will remain focused on expanding our food security work and creating pathways to economic mobility for students through job training.
To tackle the root causes of poverty and hunger, we must address racism. Individuals who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) are disproportionately impacted by these challenges due to systemic racism and the injustices and trauma that result from it.
While we began our diversity, equity and inclusion journey in earnest in 2018, last year’s horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery – and so many other people of color who have lost their lives due to racism – caused us to further reflect upon and recommit to how we go about our work. We convened our staff and board of directors to talk about our goal to deepen diversity and inclusion and to take antiracist action. These were hard, heartfelt and challenging discussions.
As part of our process, we collectively defined what antiracism means to FareStart. We created a definition to provide explicit clarity to our community and serve as a guide for how we go about our work and realize our mission. This statement was unanimously adopted by our board of directors:
FareStart defines anti-racism as the clear acknowledgment that racism permeates organizations, communities, and industries, including our own. We recognize that we have a duty to be vigilant in addressing and confronting racism in how we make decisions, show up in our communities, build business practices and policies, and engage in intentional partnerships and philanthropic endeavors to fulfill our mission and vision.
This definition may evolve as we continue our journey and grow as an organization. We embrace this growth – and the potential of making mistakes along the way. This is part of doing the work and striving towards continuous improvement.
One of the mantras FareStart teaches its students and that we take to heart as a community is “We don’t just talk about it; we be about it.” That is why advancing racial equity is a cross-cutting theme across our organization priorities, including job training, food security, community engagement, talent development and fundraising.
We will keep you regularly informed about our progress on these priorities. Work is currently underway on our 2022-24 strategic plan. I look forward to sharing more details later this year as we continue to work to advance racial equity. Thank you for being a part of our journey as we work toward ensuring every individual has the opportunity to thrive in an equitable and just world.