FGC’s Institutional Assessment on Racism survey closed on July 31, 2018 with 1,168 respondents: (66%) female, (31%) male, and (3%) other and an average age of 63. Some respondents identified themselves as European (864), African (44), Asian (11), Latinx (15), Native American (20), and/or other descent (79) from 15 directly affiliated and five unaffiliated Yearly Meetings. Focus Groups were held at Pre-Gathering and Gathering, Northern, Ohio Valley, New York, Lake Erie, and North Pacific Yearly Meetings. Historical records and events round out the data and testimonies that the Task Force has amassed. With leadings from Spirit the next phase of our work has begun: analyzing and summarizing the many sources of data, crafting recommendations, and planning our presentation for the fall Central Committee (Oct 25-28, 2018).
During September the report writing team worked toward documenting the stories that have become a painful lore among Friends of Color who’ve attended Gathering over the years: the Underground Railroad game, the “Quaker” sweat lodges, Confederate flags along the route, intimidation by campus police, and many other stories that may be less well known. These stories along with quotes from the Focus Group notes, survey comments and responses are being knitted together into the final report and recommendations that will be presented to Central Committee. The IAR Task Force is working as a team in support of the report writing, editing and ongoing discernment that allows Spirit to lead.
Our consultants, Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training will facilitate a mini-workshop for Central Committee similar to the weekend–long workshop provided to 43 FGC staff members, committee clerks, Yearly Meeting representatives and our Task Force members at Stony Point Retreat Center in November 2017. The 12-member Task Force used the Crossroads framework, language, and methods to guide and inform our FGC Institutional Assessment on Racism work over the last 10 months. Since the recommendations report is being written within this framework, the body of the Central Committee will be better prepared to understand the Task Force report and discern the way forward. Crossroads will facilitate a better understanding of in-group and out-group dynamics that underlie systemic, institutional racism, and will help Friends on Central Committee better understand the definition of systemic racism. Most importantly, Crossroads will facilitate an activity to convey their 6-stage Continuum of institutional, anti-racist transformation. This Continuum ranges from 1, which is the equivalent of a “good-ole boys club” to a 6, which is a fully transformed anti-racist organization within a completely transformed society. The data we’ve collected provides the evidence to locate FGC on this Continuum. The Task Force recommendations will focus on how to move FGC further along this Continuum toward anti-racist transformation.
The IAWG (our communications subgroup) will continue to provide these monthly updates to keep Friends connected to the process as our work continuously unfolds. IAWG recently submitted a short blurb about our work to Friends Journal to be published this fall. We also plan to write a lengthier article about the Institutional Assessment on Racism process and what we have learned for a January 2019 Friends Journal issue.
The IA Task Force members:
Marvin Barnes LEYM, IAWG, Continuum team (Data Analysis)
Justin Connor BYM, IAWG, Continuum team
Janice Domanik ILYM, Continuum team (Report Writing)
Michael Doo BYM, Matrix Team (Report Writing)
Vanessa Julye PHLYM, IAWG, Matrix Team
Sharon Lane-Getaz NYM, IAWG, Survey team (Data Analysis)
Carolyn Lejuste LEYM, IAWG, Survey team (Report Writing)
Katrina McQuail CYM, Survey team
Elanna Reber PHLY, Survey team
Marijke van Roojen NYM, Matrix Team (Data Analysis)
Dwight Wilson LEYM, Matrix Team
Keira Wilson BYM/PHLYM, Continuum team