Creating a cohesive organizational culture while placing a premium on attaining equity through diversity, inclusion, and creating safe spaces of belonging can come with challenges. These challenges can be especially amplified during moments of ‘racialized’ crisis, be it outside or within the organization.
Because race, racism, and ‘racialized’ crisis are value-ladened, organizations either tend to avoid being open about them, avoid bringing them to the fore, or leave it up to Employee Resource Groups/ERGs to address. Sometimes, the way that a ‘racialized’ crisis is handled can cause People of Color and Culture, and allies to lose their sense of belonging, or to feel marginalized. While Affinity Groups and ERGs foster a particular outcome and allows for members with a particular commonality (religion, ethnicity, shared interest, gender, etc.) to share a space and support each other and spread awareness; during times of crisis, People of Color and Culture, and the allies who support them, are likely in need of additional support that places them at the center.
“Us At The Center” functions as a restorative circle for participants with shared experiences in the midst of a crisis. Participants are able to create a safe space, speak freely and without judgement and renew and/or refortify community agreements in order to work through difficult feelings, the impact and affect of the specific crisis, while moving through dialogue and techniques that help fortify and restore participants.