MCC U.S. to strengthen racial equity

The Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Board of Directors unanimously accepted a new racial equity audit and recommendations as MCC seeks to become a more just and equitable organization.

The audit was compiled by Adrian Pei, a racial equity and change management consultant.

He spent five months reviewing MCC’s records of strategic priorities and previous antiracism initiatives, observing leadership meetings and conducting interviews with 37 people across MCC in the United States, especially people of color.

Although MCC has been involved in antiracism work for decades, the nationwide call for justice for the Black community last summer spurred MCC to look more closely at its own institutional racism.

“The Lord is giving many people from the dominant white culture eyes to see the injustice that has gone unnoticed in spite of conversations advocating change,” said MCC U.S board chair Gwen White of Philadelphia.

“Those who have held power are recognizing unconscious ways that power has been used and held. This brings the opportunity to change not only our minds, but our systems, by bringing diverse people into decision-making positions.”

On March 20, Pei met with the board to review his findings, including MCC’s strengths, gaps and barriers that have caused pain and oppression among some staff of color.

He underscored the challenges an organization will face while trying to change.

“Organizations will not change unless they are willing to give up what’s comfortable and familiar,” he said.

The first step, Pei said, is for team leaders to create space for racial equity in job descriptions, team responsibilities and strategic plans.

After that, Pei recommended MCC deepen its engagement with churches and people of color and increase the pool of qualified, racially diverse applicants for staff and board positions.

He advised making a plan for communication about racial equity, creating a leadership and mentoring cohort for staff of color and hiring staff to ­facilitate the growth of antiracism work within the organization and MCC’s antiracism efforts with others.

Board member Hugo Saucedo of San Antonio, Texas, said he affirmed the report and actions “because for the first time in a long time I’m seeing acknowledgment of many of the pieces that I’ve worked toward in the last 20 years.”

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