It’s not just criminal justice organizations that struggle to develop solutions that have the potential to achieve true equity.

One important step is to ensure that people of color hold management positions, including at the executive level. And a single person is not enough—multiple men and women of color (together with their other identities) must be present at any decision making table. We want to overcome the actual or perceived lack of a “pipeline” of qualified people of color for such positions. We understand that we do not live in a meritocracy—the playing field is not level. This may require taking steps to remove bias in the hiring processes—such as intentionally recruiting from historically black colleges and universities, stripping demographic characteristics from applications, or taking steps to de-bias the interview process. It may also require articulating a commitment to race equity in the first few sentences of a job posting.

We also need to acknowledge and reflect on history—specifically how the nation’s criminal justice system has been used to enforce laws that criminalize race and ethnicity and aim to control the lives of people of color. We aim to be prepared to change the way we’ve always done things. Tradition does not ensure equity and it often masks baked-in inequity. At the same time, we recognize that everyone has blind spots and that the process of discovery can be uncomfortable.

We should be prepared to rebut common myths about why racial disparities exist, and engage and seek the perspectives of men and women of color—who have lived through the experience we are trying to reform—in the development of an alternative.

Finally, we have to remember that it’s not just criminal justice organizations that struggle to develop solutions that have the potential to achieve true equity. This is something that any organization seeking to transform a system confronts, due to a complicated web of structural barriers, as well as our country’s legacy of racial injustice.

Addressing racial disparities must become more than a boilerplate bullet point, but to do so requires action, and that action must begin at home.