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Equity Steering Committee Takes on a Leading Role at CCCTuesday, February 8, 2022
In 2020, Central City Concern was moved to greater action by the social unrest and the killings of Black and brown people at the hands of the police. Our employees and clients were vocal in asking for increased accountability in the organization’s commitment to racial equity and becoming an anti-racist organization.
In response, the Office of Organizational Development and Racial Equity (ODRE) worked with CCC employees to restructure the previous Diversity Committee into the Equity Steering Committee. The long-standing Diversity Committee has made many important contributions to CCC since its founding over a decade ago. Now, the Equity Steering Committee will continue to elevate this work, but with some key differences.
“The difference between [the Diversity Committee and Equity Steering Committee] is the relationship with the Executive Leadership Team,” explains ODRE Manager Mariam Admasu. “The Equity Steering Committee has been formed to be a governing body overseeing CCC’s equity and anti-racism strategy. It’s embedded in CCC’s planning and operations.”
The Equity Steering Committee had their first meeting in February 2021. Since then, they have elected co-chairs, CCC employees Lexy Lawrence and Jennifer Benjamin.
Voices rooted throughout the organization
It’s rare for diversity efforts to be embedded in the operational planning and outcomes of an organization. But CCC walks its talk.
Jennifer, a contracts management specialist with CCC, joined the Diversity Committee in 2017. When the opportunity to become co-chair of the Equity Steering Committee presented itself, she was excited because “accepting the role was an opportunity to learn more about equity, especially organizational systems equity.”
Lexy, a clinical supervisor at CCC, says “I wanted my voice to be heard within the agency and felt like this was the perfect opportunity to learn more about our agency and the work that we do.”
Jennifer and Lexy have successfully led the committee through the process of developing its purpose, mission, vision and values. They are excited for what the future holds.
“I hope that we will accomplish some positive strides in regards to reviewing data points and prioritizing projects to steer equity efforts,” says Lexy. Jennifer is hopeful the committee will be able to establish an accountability framework, ensuring every department is applying an equity lens when accomplishing tasks, whether they are hiring, creating budgets or reviewing contracts.
The Equity Steering Committee will also play a key role in developing values for the CCC as a whole. “Nothing is more important to any organization than having clear values that amplifies the vision, mission and essence of the organization, and the Equity Steering Committee will drive this critically important work,” says Chief People Officer Oscar Cardona.
President and CEO Rachel Solotaroff says, “One of the biggest parts of my job as CEO is to hold accountability for our commitments and actions in equity and becoming an anti-racist organization. The Equity Steering Committee is a brilliant mechanism, chaired by remarkable leaders, to build that accountability into our daily work and our forward-looking strategy. This is a partnership that will sustain our work in equity for years to come.”
Equity is at the center of our work. See how CCC is taking action to prioritize anti-racism and racial equity in our organization values, culture and programs.