OHCA The Oregon Caregiver Spring Summer 2022

The Oregon Caregiver SPRING/SUMMER 2022 www.ohca.com 12 FEATURE » FEATURE, CONT. values and better understand how to help serve members. ETC co-owners and facilitators, Rakeem Washington and Kasia Rutledge, help organizations look at structures and systems of power, particularly around race and oppressions, and build a new structure that is intersectional and human-first. “We call it anti-racism and anti-oppression work and what we’re trying to do is identify, address, and change the structures and the culture within an organization. It’s not just, ‘how do we hire more brown and Black folks?’ Rather it’s, ‘how have we created an organization where we don’t have brown and Black folks who want to work here?’” said Rutledge. ETC’s work involves dismantling, rebuilding, and recreating processes and structures, which can result in rejecting some of the principles that are connected to the status quo to create a space to include everyone. They help organizations level set—meeting people where they’re at—to build a foundation of understanding, which means diving into the topic of race right off the bat. “In this country, we don’t talk about race. In our experience, racism is the hardest conversation to have. If we don’t start there, people will use other pieces of their identities, especially pieces where they feel marginalization, to off-ramp from that really hard conversation about racism. Historically, racism is sort of the way in which business is done in United States, so it shows up everywhere. If we can start with racism and figure out how to account for that—how to change the structures that feature intentional or unintentional racism—all those other ‘-isms’ spaces will benefit from that process. We are laying the bare foundation for the way which we treat each other, the way in which business is done, the way in which organizations are structured,” said Washington. “If we talk about ableism without talking about racism, we’re talking about white bodies, not everybody who should be in that conversation. That’s because it’s so ingrained and built into all our structures, our forms of government, our interactions, our hierarchies, and even the way things are placed on grocery store shelves have some component of racism connected to it.” “Learning to have that conversation and learning to see and unpack pieces of race, racism, and white supremacy is a core component of being able to have the other conversations. white supremacy is at the root of other oppressions as well, whether it be patriarchy or transphobia or fatphobia or xenophobia or ableism or whatever. You can’t have an honest, nuanced conversation about those other pieces of oppression, unless you understand and unpack white supremacy first,” said Rutledge. ETC’s approach recognizes that often the people who are making decisions and policies aren’t always aware of the struggles the rest of their teams may be facing, whether it’s an employee of color having to deal with racist clients or residents and not having the tools or resources to interact, or it’s managers not knowing how to support people within long term care communities to get the care they need. In social services fields, Washington and Rutledge say the divide in experiences and understanding around race between the people doing the work is vast. There are folks who experience racism on a daily basis from CONTINUES » RakeemWashington and Kasia Rutledge, Co-owners of Engage to Change, LLC.