Racial Justice: Then, Now and Forward

submitted by Valerie Renk

Annette Miller 7 15 20Rotarians were challenged July 15 by Annette Miller to be part of the equity solution.

“We have historically denied racism existed and that we were personally accountable,” Miller said. “But we have the capacity to learn and now unlearn racist behavior.  People may doubt what you say but they will always believe what you do.

Miller suggested we think about what is the work for you? What do you need to learn to unlearn old habits?  How do we deconstruct old systems based on people’s looks or zip codes whether they rent for example?  We can grow together without the lens of racism.

What can Rotary do?  “Look to the four-way test,” Miller outlines:

  1. Truth: Are we offering all truths? The truth is when white people call the police they respond. When people of color interact with police, outcomes are not always good.
  2. What’s the difference between fair and equitable? Fair is everyone getting the same. Equitable means offering what they need.
  3. Push yourself to meet new types of people, learn their stories. Move from fear zone to learning zone such as how the GI Bill benefited 8 million primarily white veterans with education, unemployment insurance and housing but didn’t benefit millions of veterans of color. Redlining is another devastating disparity example.
  4. Be prepared to be in the growth zone; it’s ok to make mistakes as long as you try. Use your influence at work, Rotary, with family…especially your kids…to find out what they know and how we can be better.

“We are all in this together,” Miller closed with.

Miller lives in Madison with life partner, Mike, and their three children. Annette launched EQT By Design focusing on developing diverse, inclusive, sustainable strategies in public engagement, equitable community development projects and organizational cultural change management. Annette obtained her BA from UW-Madison in 1992, and MS in 2017 from Edgewood College.

Our thanks to Annette Miller for her presentation this week and to Valerie Renk for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/eV–yUaCnLg

  Here is a link to key slides from Annette’s presentation:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ChdhqYzOfeyquRXgqBbjs7ZUUGlCNinF/view?usp=sharing and a link to additional resources:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ygjl79fR3PN99MROmCWCSyO_UtDJ7MSOOiF5Wbawu5E/edit.

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