On June 1, a longtime Timbers Army capo and member of our gameday ops committee, posted a blog about his experience as a Black member of the 107ist and it has put our own systemic, institutional racism front and center for the board of directors. The experience detailed in the blog was not a one-off experience, and the board has been confronted with the hard truth that we have biases and have not been doing nearly enough to be actively anti-racist and radically inclusive. We apologize to our friends and fellow supporters for failing them, leaving them to do the work of pointing out our mistakes and the hurdles that have been in place.
On June 4, the board asked for 30 days to develop a plan to start restructuring and identify steps that will bring us closer to the organization we want to be. We realize we have not centered BIPOC voices in our decision making or created sufficient pathways to participation or leadership.
Since then, several BIPOC members of the 107ist have volunteered to form a committee. Here is an update from the team:
- The team has met twice in person to discuss the current issues and introductions.
- The team is working on a mission statement and figuring out the structure within the team. Duties have been split amongst the team members.
- Currently working on creating a list of action items for the board, no current hard dates for delivery yet.
- New volunteer committee members are being onboarded.
Today, July 4, the board is sharing our plans for changing the organization to be better. In the process, we have identified paths toward not only addressing the issues regarding racism and not centering BIPOC voices, but also toward other areas of improvement, including better communication, more transparency, and more inclusivity.
Below are the different areas that the board is working to improve over the next 5 months. We have identified Board Leads for each area so our membership can hold us accountable as well as know who to reach out to if able to help these efforts.
- Improve accessibility: Virtual meetings with closed captions; and ASL interpreters for in-person events like the AGM and candidate forum.
- Board leads: Gabby, Jen, Zach
- Hear from our membership: Create more opportunities to connect with members, such as meet-and-greets with committee leads and board members; update our member survey; add another annual meeting where members set the agenda; look for fresh ways to welcome newcomers and new volunteers; and evaluate ways to reach out to past volunteers to encourage re-engagement.
- Board leads: Drew, Joshua, Kristen, Sheba, Zach
- Communicate more: Give more information and notice about board meeting times and topics; post invites to individual committee meetings as appropriate; evaluate our communication structure and strategy to ensure members are getting the information they need and in a timely manner; and add contact info to weekly emails.
- Board leads: Christin, Dawn, Jen, Gabby, Sheba
- Increase accountability: Create accountability measures for the board and communicate them to our members; formalize processes such as blog posts and meeting participation; evaluate committees and their engagement levels; and maintain a running list of follow-up items and responsible board members.
- Board leads: Drew, Gabby, Maggie
- Evaluate org structure & activities: Evaluate responsibilities of the board, election process, governance with a specific view to ensuring that underrepresented voices are centered as part of the org; increase partnerships with businesses and organizations that serve marginalized communities; and prioritize process documentation for board and committee activities.
- Board Leads: Christin, Maggie, Zach
In addition to the move forward plan, the board has also done the following over the last 30 days:
- Consulted with experts on next steps to center BIPOC voices, including Eric Ward from Western States Center and Zakir Khan from CAIR Oregon
- Contracting with Resolutions NW for future mediation services
- Connected with Y.O.U.th to develop Implicit Bias training for the board and 107ist members
- Board leadership changes to make room for fresh ideas and new voices as we work with the BIPOC team to find a replacement. Ray stepped down from the board and Sheba stepped down as president and Gabby was elected by the board as president for the remainder of 2020.
We want to do this work alongside our members, see an area that you want to be involved in? Email the board members responsible. All emails can be found here. We will also be reaching out for help in various ways over the coming weeks and months.
If you would like to join the BIPOC team, please email the team directly at BIPOC@107ist.org. This email address does not go to the board, but to the members of the BIPOC team.
For more information on any of the items listed above, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members have also asked what we, the board, are doing to learn more about systemic racism, how to be an antiracist, and the issues with racism in the United States. Many of us have been spending time reflecting and discussing past and present issues regarding racism and privilege with friends, coworkers, and family. We are looking to bring these changes not only to the 107ist and our work on the board, but to our workplace and other community groups which we belong to. Below is a list of educational material we have been engaged with that focus on re-centering Black experiences and other diverse voices:
- Reading: How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Eloquent Rage by Brittany Cooper
- Podcasts: BSI with Jeremy Ebobisse, NPR’s Code Switch, Scene On Radio: Seeing White - also engaged in a Podcast Club organized and led by The Flock
- Movies & documentaries: 13th, When They See Us, Selma, 4 Little Girls, Just Mercy, Becoming, The Hate U Give, LA 92, Let It Fall, Reconstruction