Deep equity, in practice, means continually transforming ourselves, our relationships, and the structures and systems needed to make love, dignity, and justice real for organizations, networks, and the planet.
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Advancing Deep Equity

Photo credit: Tony Fischer | CC BY 2.0Photo credit: Tony Fischer | CC BY 2.0Deep equity encompasses: honoring differences; recognizing the impact our identities and positions have on our individual and collective experiences; focusing on relationships and whole beings with multiple identities; addressing trauma and healing; eliminating systemic disparities; and transforming structures, systems, processes, and cultures.

The pursuit of deep equity is a long overdue expansion from primarily aiming for “diverse” staff, boards, and constituents, and is essential for creating the conditions necessary for advancing equitable organizations, networks, justice, and liberation.

For many years, the Alameda County Public Health Department’s thinking about race had been framed around diversity and inclusion, focusing on including women and people of color in the department’s staff and leadership. Then the department began examining how equity issues interacted with the root causes of health problems in the county. They saw that heavily African American communities suffered disproportionate health challenges, and realized that getting to the bottom of why this might be the case meant examining how issues such as transportation, housing, and air quality—all issues intertwined with histories of racial bias and discrimination—were affecting the wellbeing of county residents. Looking at the health data with race equity in mind meant changing the way the health department designed its programs and whom it served.

Kimi Watkins-Tartt of the Alameda County Public Health Department says, “The diversity and inclusion approach really is very focused on diversity and inclusion inside of the workforce. That’s a part of a racial equity lens, but a racial equity approach doesn’t stop there. We also then are talking to the people that are impacted by the issues we’re dealing with. I would say that this new initiative is allowing us the opportunity to be more explicit about how racism plays a role in creating the social inequalities that are actually driving the health disparities.” For more on this story, please refer to our article, Pursuing Deep Equity, in the Nonprofit Quarterly. 

Photo credit: Eugene Eric KimPhoto credit: Eugene Eric KimWe believe that committing to deep equity includes recognizing privilege and oppression present in society; understanding one’s relationship to privilege and oppression; and forming authentic alliances among people who experience both oppression and privilege to transform society, recognizing the centrality of the leadership of people who are marginalized in that process. There are multiple levels of transformation necessary in advancing deep equity: internal/individual change; interpersonal relations; institutional (including cross-institutional and network) change; and systemic transformation.


Feature photo credit: Jose Nicdao | CC BY 2.0

Deep Equity in Action

Coaching for Healing and Non-Violence

With its focus on whole beings with multiple identities and its capacity to address trauma and healing, coaching is one way to support individuals and groups on their journeys to advance deep equity. Coaching for Healing and Non-Violence brings a coaching certification program to 26 men that are peer educators, teachers, facilitators and mentors on YARD A at CSP Lancaster, the only prison in Los Angeles County. They see coaching as “an asset-based approach that uses deep listening, empowering questions, visioning, accountability and somatic work to support people to break old habits, to develop new practices and embrace change.”

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Co-creators Advancing Deep Equity

We partner with many inspiring people committed to advancing the deep equity practices of individuals, organizations, networks, and the field. Here we name just a few.

Equity in the Center

Equity in the Center works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity.

Move to End Violence

Move to End Violence supports leaders in the U.S. movement to end violence against girls and women to step back from their daily work to envision the change they want to see, imagine new strategies, and build the capacity needed to realize this change.

Justice Funders

Justice Funders is a partner and guide for philanthropy in reimagining practices that advance a thriving and just world.