iBme’s Collaborative Leadership Team engages in several trainings and dialogues throughout the year in order to unlearn oppressive systems and become more deeply aware of our own biases. We also engage in equity training during all retreat staff training sessions.
Office Staff and Board
We ask all those interested in engaging with iBme as a staff person to already inhabit some kind of justice-analysis—to come aware of internalized patriarchy, sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and so forth. This awareness is an essential part of the hiring process at iBme. When hiring, we examine the personal and professional work each applicant has done in those areas, and we choose staff with significant consideration of this experience. A proven commitment to justice and equity is a requirement for our leadership team.
The goal of our staff training is to create opportunities for our leadership to reflect on our social identities, further develop cultural competency, and institutionalize anti-oppression policies and commitments. We focus not on educating people on the history of oppression, but rather bringing sensitivity and awareness to the places we may be blind. In recent years, we have:
- Participated in multiple community wide equity workshops
- Formed an Equity and Interdependence Committee
- Begun a deep dive into our organization-wide policies around Equity and Inclusion
- Worked with a consultant to develop a comprehensive dialogue and training session with staff
- Participated in a Staff-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Assessment Survey
Our retreat teaching teams are diverse in many meaningful ways, and we identify teachers and retreat staff specifically with criteria based on putting together a truly diverse team, and individuals who come with their own training and focus on justice and equity. In addition, we support ongoing equity training and education for teachers and staff through:
- Sending required justice-based readings and video lists to staff and teachers to reflect upon before retreats
- Convening retreat staff for a two-to-three-hour workshop on diversity and equity, led by chosen staff members, before teens arrive at the retreat location
- Creating curriculum to support these trainings and also giving workshop facilitators jurisdiction over how the trainings will be presented, thus making space for a multiplicity of voices and perspectives
- Including options for caucusing and open dialogue in addition to activities and/or more formal lessons on diversity and equity
- Supporting staff and teachers year-round via Equity and Interdependence webinars
When looking at a staff team we consider whether the team is diverse and whether we are meeting our equity goals. For example we:
- Ensure there are teachers of varying gender, age, and race
- Offer transportation support for mentors of color (to and from retreat)
- Ask ourselves “Does the makeup of the team make up a ‘best-case’ staff team”? We pay special attention to our teams’ lived experience and identities
- The applications for all teachers and staff ask for training and engagement in issues of equity
If you really want this, are you willing to do what is necessary to make that happen, which actually means giving up something. That’s the thing about privilege—if you have certain privilege and want there to be equity, you have to give something up. And sometimes that means giving up your position, so that someone else who is not of the dominant culture can take that position.
– La Sarmiento, Retreat Teacher