Behind the List
Building Our Equity & Inclusion StatementBy Mayela Rodriguez
September 18, 2019
We want to introduce you to our Equity and Inclusion Statement and our process for creating it.
We are a team of four (with 10–15 contractors and consultants working with us at various times), working together remotely. About four times a year our core team meets in person for a three-day work gathering. We devoted one of these gatherings to an anti-racism workshop in order to strengthen our understanding of how we, as Listings Project, can better support our community and can positively impact the industries we intersect.
We realized that in order to write a powerful, meaningful, and truly inclusive statement we needed to educate ourselves on both the explicit and insidious forms of bias, prejudice, and racism.
Listings Project is rooted in collective self-care and community building. It draws on the belief that we are our best selves when we feel both grounded as individuals and deeply connected to a vibrant, energizing public. We believe that creating opportunities for all people to have equitable access to commercial, residential, and public space contributes to more resilient, healthy, compassionate, transparent, and sustainable communities.
Equity and inclusion have been at the core of Listings Project since the beginning, scaffolding the work we do to ensure that the service we provide to our community is rooted in compassion. However, a few instances during our journey as a company, mixed with the realities of the world around us, have reminded us that running a company that is equitable and inclusive is an ongoing process that requires constant commitment. This is why we have formally written our own Listings Project Equity and Inclusion Statement, to make our commitment to equity and inclusion explicit to our community.
We engaged Dara Silverman and Ethan Kerr, racial equity workshop facilitators using somatic group work to build movements for, economic, racial, gender, and social justice. Dara and Ethan asked us to examine the biases within ourselves, Listings Project, and our society. It was a vulnerable and challenging experience that affirmed our commitment to the Listings Project community and helped us lay the groundwork for our Equity and Inclusion statement.
We ended our workshop with three main takeaways: 1. everyone can and must challenge their personal biases; 2. it is imperative to continue challenging the harmful stereotypes, systemic oppressions, and unconscious biases that underpin our society and the industries we intersect; and 3. with your help, we will foster stronger, more connected communities.
With these takeaways in mind, we sought the expertise of Nirmala Nataraj writer and self-proclaimed “book midwife” whose projects and clients are committed to dismantling oppressive systems. Her approach to writing emphasizes the power of claiming authority over our voices and personal truths.
Working with Nirmala was a completely collaborative process and she helped draw our statement out of us. She helped us synthesize a number of different aspects — the needs of our community, the needs of our team, and what we learned from the workshop — into a focused, compassionate, and resolute statement, reminding us of the power of language.
We invite you to be part of this journey. You are the foundation of Listings Project, and each and every one of you is vital to our success in fulfilling our mission. And with your help, we will foster stronger, more connected and resilient communities. While most of us are familiar with overt forms of oppression, much of what marginalized groups experience on a daily basis remains invisible or largely unnoticed, as it is embedded within our systems and structures.
We have outlined a number of ways that you can actively support our mission of creating a community that practices equity and inclusion. We invite you to help us uphold the exceptional level of care and respect that is foundational to our work and that has enabled Listings Project to thrive.
Our Equity and Inclusion statement was created in an effort to promote and foster collective self-care within our community. Recognizing that Listings Project operates at the intersection of three very exclusionary industries (real estate, tech, and art), it was necessary for us to reimagine what equity and inclusion looks like for our community.
Mayela Rodriguez, our Graphic Designer and Social Media Manager, works closely with the team to create designs for the website, newsletter, and user experience. A self-proclaimed “media-agnostic” artist, Mayela received her MFA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. You can learn more about her work at www.mayelarodriquez.com.