NEON Anti-Racism Statement
“The time is always right to do what is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Recent events have compelled us as an organization to examine and act against the multifaceted nature of racism locally, nationally, and globally. We proclaim our deeply held belief that racism is dehumanizing to everyone it touches.
Since our inception, NEON has upheld the value of social justice for all people. Our vision is that all people in rural communities are happy, healthy, and thriving. Racism hurts our families and communities at many levels, including having an impact on the health of the people we serve. We welcome and respect diversity in our organization, local communities and the state. We also recognize that racism exists in not just individual actions but is also embedded in the fabric of our society and institutions, including, at times, our own. At NEON, we strive to reexamine our own actions, programs, and practices to ensure that they serve all members of our community, especially those of color.
We acknowledge that racism is often unconscious or unintentional. Identifying racism as an issue does not necessarily mean that those involved are racist or acting with racist intent. We will continue to intentionally identify, discuss and challenge issues of racism and the impacts it has on our organization, the systems we work in, and the people we partner with and serve. We challenge ourselves to identify, understand and correct existing inequities and better understand ourselves in this process. Further, we recognize that this is an on-going process and may not ever be complete. Our commitment is to continue to grow and improve as people, community members, and as an organization to better serve all members of our community.
We resolve to explicitly and publicly affirm our identity as an anti-racist organization.
We resolve that our anti-racism commitment be reflected in the life and culture of our organization through our policies, programs and practices as we continue to learn about racism.
We resolve to develop and work to implement strategies that dismantle racism within all aspects of our organization and our work with local communities.
Therefore, we commit to the following actions:
1.) To continue and renew our strong commitment to listening to our staff, partners and community members who are people of color. We understand we are a largely white organization, serving diverse cultural groups. We know that, despite our commitment and efforts, we will unintentionally engage in racist actions that can have severe impacts. We are committed to hearing from the communities and staff we serve, hearing about where we fail and where we could do better, learning from others who have a different lived experience with humility.
2.) To complete a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion audit of our organizations policies and practices. We will make a plan based on our audit, and commit to having an ongoing, active and meaningful Diversity, Equity and Inclusion action plan. We will be accountable to meeting goals in this plan to our board and our constituents.
3) To continue to improve our hiring practices to ensure that they value diversity and uphold our anti-racist values.
4.) To enhance our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training by partnering with other trainers who are people of color, ensuring that our training is facilitated or co-facilitated by those who are most appropriate in terms of race, culture or lived experience.
5.) To offer a safe space for people of color and their allies to openly discuss concerns related to racism and discrimination in all forms. This includes use of our physical space or support and use of our online platforms.
6.) To commit to providing support - practical, logistical and symbolic - to groups of color that wish to focus on anti-racism.
7.) To provide interactive training to all staff, board members, interns, and partners on issues surrounding antiracism.
8.) To continue to recognize discrimination, oppression and racism as trauma experienced by individuals and groups. As a trauma informed organization, NEON commits to recognizing, making room for and actively working to create space for healing in our community
This statement was crafted by NEON staff and approved by the NEON Board of Directors.