Racial Equity Learning Exchange (RELE) Sessions℠ have four basic purposes. Each one helps build upon the previous one to achieve a broader purpose. The broader purpose is to build the capacity among individuals and organizations who want to effectively lead system transformation work dedicated to the reduction of racial disparities and racial inequality in black and brown communities. RELE Sessions℠ provide data, frameworks, and other tools to support and inspire persons who want to undo the adverse impact that concentrated poverty in racially segregated neighborhoods continues to have on the life opportunities and choices of children and families of color.
Raising Awareness is the first purpose for engaging in a RELE Session℠. This purpose centers on helping each participant better understand why and how race still matters. The intent is to help identify how perceptions about race influence the ways in which programs and systems, often fail to adequately respond to the needs, challenges and aspirations of black and brown families and communities.
Changing Organizational Culture through Courageous Conversations is the second purpose for engaging in a Racial Equity Learning Exchange Session℠. These learning opportunities provide tools and experiences to facilitate opportunities for each participant to engage in ongoing courageous conversations about race, poverty, trauma, and the need for multi-system transformation. The RELE Sessions℠ help establish a mental and emotional foundation for constructive organizational cultural change to occur. We ask ourselves, “How reasonable is it to expect an organization or system to appropriately respond to the needs and challenges of black and brown communities when there are few, if any, opportunities, tools, incentives, and sanctions for its individuals and leaders to do so?” What type of organizational environment and structure is needed to recruit and retain staff who can develop policies, programs, and practices that are racially equitable? How do we create such a place that can sustain these efforts to occur over time, within and across multiple agencies, systems, and businesses
Improving Outcomes is the third purpose for participating in a RELE Session℠. Talking about race must serve a purpose that is greater than the activity alone. Ultimately, Racial Equity Learning Exchange Sessions℠ are focused on improving outcomes in places where black and brown people live, work, learn and play. The Structural Racism Theory of Change (SRTOC) is a tool developed by the Aspen Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Change, that uses a racial equity framework to develop an action plan that reduces racial disparities. The RELE Sessions℠ employ tools that help participants deliberately focus on improving outcomes for all children, families, and communities, especially for persons of color.
Tracking Results: The last purpose of the RELE Sessions℠ is to encourage the consistent use of data and other internal organizational capacities to track and report on progress and challenges associated with racial equity work. How do we use the data to help make mid-course corrections where needed? How can we ever know how close racial disparity gaps and achieve racial equality if we do not track, measure and report on it?