The WORC Board of Directors adopted this statement on equity, as a living document to guide our policy and planning, at its meeting on December 7, 2019. 

WORC is a regional network of community-based organizations that build grassroots leadership and power through community organizing in order to advance the vision of a democratic, sustainable, and just society. 

Oppression has deep roots in our country and our region. From the beginning, we have faced powerful opponents who seek to divide us. We know that we are more powerful when we stand together and that, to be successful, we must engage and include everyone who shares our values and purpose. 

We understand that in order to accomplish our vision we must prioritize supporting the leadership of those of us who are most directly impacted by injustice. Our network’s work is as strong as our people are deeply grounded in and motivated by love of family, community and the place we call home.

We acknowledge that our region has been shaped by generations who have contributed their hopes, dreams and energy to creating a viable future for their families and communities. Some were brought here against their will, some came from distant lands with the hope of a better life, many have lived here for more generations than can be counted. Acknowledging the truth of our collective history is necessary to build trust.

We commit to building organizations that reflect the diversity of our region. We need this mix of backgrounds, beliefs, and talents to realize our vision. As we find new ways to build greater shared power we will increase our collective impact: to take on new issues, win more campaigns, strengthen our public voice, and create a democratic, sustainable, and just society. 

We are committed to growing so that our network is welcoming and inclusive to all. To this end, we commit to:  

  • Working to understand and interrupt racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of oppression, by making education and training available to all staff, leaders and members, including (but not limited to):
    • The collective history of our region, 
    • Knowledge of and respect for many cultures,
    • Understanding the many forms of inherited privilege, and 
    • Giving and receiving constructive feedback.
  • Using these understandings to help guide every aspect of our work, including how we recruit, hire, select, train, support and retain members, leaders and staff; and how we plan organizing assessments, new chapter development, issue campaigns, trainings and events, etc. 
  • Being intentional about who we include in our conversations, meetings and events, etc.
  • Building an organizational culture and climate in which all feel able to fully participate, including accessing our physical space and materials, contributing their ideas, and taking leadership positions.
  • Processing feedback, confronting our own shortcomings, growing our awareness and skills, and adjusting our culture and work approaches.

We recognize the substantial work ahead. It will require commitment, time and perseverance. We commit to providing leadership, resources and staff time, and maintaining urgency, importance and accountability. We look to WORC’s Board, leaders and network staff to guide, evaluate and reflect on the this work going forward.