Indivisible was founded in late 2016, a period when many people became politically active or drastically increased their activism in response to the election of Donald Trump. Many of the people who became active with Indivisible during this time held various forms of privilege and, perhaps most notably, were disproportionately white, college-educated women. We recognize that this reality calls for reflection on how we as an organization best support and play a role in the broader web of movements for racial justice. In our own organizing, we emphasize the centrality of race to the fight for democracy, and we seek to act as part of a broader progressive multiracial movement.
The Scope of this Statement:
This statement is specific to the work that we do with our groups and in our organizing efforts. This statement outlines some of the principles that we apply to our own work and the expectations we have for Indivisible groups. This statement does not and is not intended to detail all of the ways that Indivisible thinks about or implements diversity, equity and inclusion internally or externally. We recognize that while fighting racism and pushing for systemic change is a collective effort, much of what we address below speaks specifically to the work that is white people’s responsibility.
Organizational Commitment and Work:
Indivisible staff, leaders, and members in this movement are responsible for holding ourselves and each other accountable to living our values and transforming our day-to-day practices. In particular, white leaders in this movement must make an ongoing practice of self-reflection, creating strong relationships with impacted communities, and uplifting/centering BIPOC members within our groups.
What we mean when we say “equity”:
The fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, which we work toward by striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of marginalized communities in political activism. Our goal, as an organization, is to be part of a multiracial movement that welcomes and supports group leaders and members of color within our network.
What we mean when we say “inclusion”:
Creating environments in which any individual or group can be, and feel, welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. As an organization, we continuously push ourselves to be inclusive of everyone who joins the movement. We recognize that creating and maintaining an inclusive movement means we provide training and tools on all aspects of diversity including racial and/or ethnic diversity, being open to feedback, being willing to have hard conversations, and holding ourselves and group leaders accountable when harm, intentional or unintentional, is caused.
Develop and maintain strong partnerships with impacted communities rooted in solidarity
We are committed to building external partnerships and coalitions with BIPOC-led organizations that encourage and represent our commitment to racial equity and inclusion within our core issue areas or other programmatic areas of work. We uplift and follow the work of these partner organizations who are already working and leading on issues that directly impact communities of color, and work to build relationships with them based in solidarity and respect for their leadership. We believe this approach allows our organization to play a supportive role as allies while centering the voices of those most impacted. Indivisible is a multiracial movement - but we recognize that for the purposes of our broader interactions with the progressive ecosystem, our majority white demographics call on us to start from a posture of allyship.
Seek out a range of ways to listen, learn, and be accountable
In our relationships with partners and individuals, we seek out feedback and guidance, recognizing that they have crucial insights to share but have no obligation to be our sole source of information. Such feedback is crucial to ensuring that we limit missteps and strengthen our ability to engage as part of the broader multiracial progressive ecosystem. We also recognize that it’s important to avoid burdening people of color or BIPOC groups with the sole responsibility to teach or provide guidance. And that such asks should, generally speaking, live within the foundation of a strong relationship rather than being transactional. Where appropriate, we recognize the role of white people to act as accountability partners, educate each other, and learn together.
Developing action plans and taking action with intention
We have purposeful discussions and make intentional plans to address issues of equity and inclusion into our campaign planning from the beginning. We ask questions like: “Are we creating an accessible space?” “Are we creating an equitable process?” “Whose voices are missing?” “Are there organizations or members within our own group that are better positioned to address this issue or that are currently addressing the issue?”
Naming the impacts of inequity and racism in our campaign messaging
When we talk about an issue (for instance, immigration) and state a position (for instance, no $ for the border wall), we uplift the specific harm (for instance, Border Patrol tear-gassing migrants, blocking access to asylum, etc.) that results from racist and inequitable policies/proposals.
Committing to ongoing learning and training
We strive for a learning culture where feedback is a gift, where we take lessons from the past and apply them to future work so that we are not repeating the same mistakes. Our Training Team is in an ongoing process of developing training that offer groups and Group Leaders the skills they need to build inclusive groups, including racial equity and inclusion foundations, building partnerships in solidarity across differences, and more. Indivisibles can access some of these trainings on our YouTube channel, can look at what’s coming up on the national front on our calendar, or can reach out to their organizer to find out what’s upcoming and available locally or regionally.
Our ask of Indivisible groups:
We ask groups, leaders, and members to commit to the same racial, equity and inclusion principles we have outlined above and that we hold ourselves to.
We ask that groups actively participate in trainings offered by Indivisible and other reputable groups to learn how to incorporate these principles outlined above into their work.
We ask that groups actively seek ways to connect with and support communities most impacted by the policies Indivisible prioritizes. This work includes doing research to find which organizations represent those communities and asking what their needs are while developing and maintaining strong relationships that are rooted in solidarity.
We ask that groups be open to feedback from organizers, trainers, and partners, as well as BIPOC members with their own groups, so that they are continuously getting better at being inclusive and building diverse local and state partnerships.
We ask that groups approach their political activism with a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion to better understand how their work and the work of the larger progressive movement may affect the lives of marginalized communities.
How we respond when harm is done:
As individuals and as an organization, we acknowledge that in spite of our best efforts, there will be subtle acts of exclusion (ie micro- and macro aggressions) that cause harm. When that happens, we as an organization will respond to both parties.
For the harmed individual and/or community:
- We will listen to the individual and/or community members to better understand the impact of the words or actions so that we can determine the best course of action
- We will share appropriate updates with the impacted individual or community about our final decision.
For the individual and/or group that caused the harm:
- We will present a learning opportunity for the person(s) who caused harm to understand how their actions or words impacted the person and/or community and the depth of harm caused.
- We will support that person(s) in taking steps to address offending behavior.
- When appropriate, we will move to remove the individual or group following the steps of our removal process.
In all situations we will seek first to understand and then take action that is in line with our values. That means responding to troubling situations involving Indivisible groups promptly and transparently, while giving groups and leaders involved the opportunity to offer their perspective, and in most cases the opportunity to make necessary improvements before we take action.