We will Not Settle in Our Pursuit of Racial Equity

Pursuit Of Racial Equity Full
At the Vera Institute of Justice, we are taking the steps necessary to become an Antiracist, Multicultural Institution

We have also implemented strategies to help our board members, staff, and key partners better understand the link between the American criminal justice system and America’s history of white supremacy, including cohort visits to the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial to Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, AL and relevant conferences and convenings such as Facing Race. We have also hosted colleagues such as Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change, a leading online racial justice organization, and Jeffrey Robinson, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of the Trone Center for Justice and Equality, to discuss with us their vision and plans for action on this front.

In our communications and programmatic work, last year we released Reimagining Prison—a report that narrates how racial oppression and the dehumanization of black people lie at the foundation of the American prison system, as well as our current era of mass incarceration—and calls for a commitment to human dignity as a response. We are expanding a program that radically transforms the conditions of confinement for incarcerated young adults – for whom racial disproportionality is even more pronounced – and that centers racial equity in its theory of change. And, we are reviewing our other work to find additional ways to center racial equity moving forward.

In the coming months, we will begin to leverage a specific tool, a racial equity toolkit, to identify areas within our policies, practices, and products where racial inequity is perpetuated and to change them. We will also begin drafting a racial equity action plan that will spell out some of our key plans and commitments.

This work is difficult, uncomfortable, continuous, and completely necessary. As explained by our president Nicholas Turner in a recent blog post, these efforts are integral to our theory of change as “advancing racial equity is a commitment that must go hand in hand with all criminal justice reform.” At Vera, we won’t settle for “something”—we want more.