Caritas of Austin
Recent national events, including the shooting in Charleston, SC, have prompted Austin leaders to begin the process of looking at institutionalized racism and how their organizations are affected and what can be done. Austin’s long history of redlining and forced segregation is now being acknowledged by City officials, which has prompted Caritas to take a leadership role in providing its staff and board with opportunities to delve deeper into understanding how racism works in Austin and in their lives.
Jo Kathryn Quinn, Executive Director of Caritas Austin, engaged her board and staff leaders in conversations about race, equity, and diversity. Buffalo Cloud Consulting was hired to facilitate the conversations in a series of training seminars that provided context, a shared language and vocabulary, and a historical understanding of race relations in the U.S. to the staff. Most importantly, the on-going multi-year program provides tools and language to help participants overcome their fear of discussing issues around race and culture in order to improve their relationships with diverse clients, funders, board and community members, and each other.
Anticipated outcomes included:
Honest engagement in the process to increase cultural awareness and sensitivity, thus giving board members a fulfilling experience
Acquisition of new skills to cultivate new relationships and mentor young/new board members of color
Development of a shared vocabulary and understanding about race and diversity
Increased cultural awareness and sensitivity, thus giving staff and clients a positive and fulfilling experience