Equity is a core value at CASA. We believe that in order to address the disparities of our past and present and create more just futures, we must reach beyond equality towards equity. Equity means providing resources and services in proportion to the need in communities, particularly those that have been harmed by racism in our society’s laws, policies, institutions, and culture. We see racism as the tool meant to keep power and privilege away from communities deemed to be undesirable or undeserving.
We have chosen to focus on racial equity because we have regularly seen the impact of racism and white supremacy within the community development field, expressed through the segregation caused by redlining, the denial of credit, and barred access to safe investment products, to name but a few. We recognize that these problems are systemic and have resulted in predatory lending targeting vulnerable communities, stagnated economic mobility for low income individuals and families, and the inaccessibility of asset building and intergenerational wealth for communities of color. With the knowledge that these injustices have never been adequately addressed, we must, in good conscience, face this work head-on.
Building prosperity in diverse communities across Oregon is at the heart of our mission, programs, and actions. We believe that access to resources and opportunity is the means to an economically vibrant and just society. We embrace diversity among all peoples, and believe in creating environments and spaces where every person is welcomed, respected and valued. We acknowledge historical and contemporary injustices and will work towards reversing them and preventing their future occurrences.
We are committed to continually examining our role in both perpetuating and combating white supremacy and institutional racism. Because we intend to be a visible, vocal leader in modeling the changes we want to see in society, we commit to practicing equity through a culture of transparency, accountability and open communication within our own organization.
At CASA, we seek to create inclusive products, spaces, and services with our communities and partners. We aim to do this by applying an equity lens to our programs and services and living up to our equity agreements. These agreements include:
- staying engaged even when conversations are difficult
- speaking our truth responsibly in order to foster change and accountability
- listening to understand to learn from perspectives different from our own
- being willing to do things differently and experience discomfort in order to advance equity
- expect and accept non-closure, understanding that not having every answer is okay
- to center equity within our organization and accept it as a non-linear process
- slowing down
We do not undertake this work alone; we strive to have collective relationships with our partners, clients, funders, government agencies and future collaborators. We aspire to model what it means to be an ally and hope to serve as a resource to others who are ready to incorporate equity into their work. We aim to work together in anti-racist community development to reshape systems that sustain inclusive, equitable communities across Oregon.
In advancing racial equity, we will always have room to grow as an organization and as individual people. This means we commit to an ongoing realization of equity and inclusion, and a culture of learning – which includes dedicating our time and resources to show up for this work authentically, consistently and with vulnerability.
As organizers, advocates, development consultants, and stewards of public funds, anti-racism should manifest at all levels of our programs. Through collaboration, we strive to build hope, homes, and financial health to both heal and strengthen our communities.