On June 5th, we shared a message unequivocally stating that Black Lives Matter at Let’s Get Ready. As we witnessed the shooting of Jacob Blake last week and the aftermath, we remain vigilant in our support of the Black community and those advocating for justice.
In our message we promised to follow-up on our words of support with tangible plans to ensure we are actively working toward increasing racial equity in our own Let’s Get Ready community.
At Let’s Get Ready, we know that educational equity is impossible without racial equity. We also know that the quality of our work is stronger, and the experience of every stakeholder is better, the more our values align with our commitment to and our investment in racial equitability in our organization.
To that end, the team at LGR has identified the following priority areas and set formal goals to focus on in the next year, and working groups have been formed to make specific progress on these in the next three months.
- We are committed to ensuring an internal leadership pipeline and equity in the staff experience. We are addressing this with more articulated career pathways, particularly for Program Managers, and salary transparency across the organization.
- Diversity and representation in our coach pool is critical to our work. While the majority of the coaches in our Transition and Success programs are representative of the communities we serve (and more than half are LGR alumni!), this representation has been a particular challenge in our Access program. We will focus on increasing diversity and representation in the Access program, up to and including updating the current scope of the Access Coach role, which historically has been a short-term, volunteer role.
- Implementing more opportunities to incorporate student and coach voices in decision-making and program design will increase the quality and responsiveness of our program. We have created a working group to determine the right form this should take, including on-going focus groups and the development of a formal student leadership body.
- Board representation – and participation in these efforts – is critical to our success. We have begun to review the nominating processes for both the National Board of Directors, the New England Advisory Board, and the Associates Council (“Junior Board”) to ensure roles, process, and priorities reflect the organizational commitment to representation and equity.
- We strive to play a larger role in the drive for systemic change and will increase our internal capacity and vision for advocacy. This work encompasses two paths: a) increasing real-time responsiveness to current events, especially those that relate to systems of oppression creating barriers to equity in higher education and b) developing a strategic vision for longer-term advocacy work to ensure that impact on systemic change is a marker for organizational success as much as impact on individual change.
We welcome the input of our full community, and for all of you to hold us accountable as we move through this work. Please feel free to reach out to me directly anytime with any insight, feedback, or questions.
Lena Eberhart, CEO