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Colorful paper leaves resembling a tree with California Humanities equity statement written on them.

Equity at the Heart of the Humanities

By Julie Fry

At California Humanities, we believe that equity should be at the heart of the humanities.

That is why, in late 2017, the staff and board of our organization launched an equity alignment initiative to build on our past efforts in supporting, sharing, and respecting stories and voices from across the state through the public humanities.

During the past two years, we have focused on two main goals:

  • deepening personal and interpersonal awareness of history, culture, unconscious bias, structural inequity, and increased compassion and empathy within California Humanities, and
  • developing clarity about implications for key functional areas in the organization such as governance, staffing and retention, operations, organizational culture, communications, partnership, and grantmaking; and embedded structures to support the on-going, successful integration of equity into our work.
    Download our full Equity Values Statement (PDF).

The next phase of this equity alignment will build on the foundation we’ve established, ensuring this work is dynamic and responsive to changes within our own organization and the world around us. Our goal is to celebrate the work we’ve done to date, synthesize the results of that work into materials that will guide our staff and board going forward, share what we’ve learned, and continue to keep learning about equity as a central focus to all that we do.

We recognize that we will never be “finished”, but that this work will continue to evolve over time and change the organization as it does so. Our continuing efforts will be informed by our sense of responsibility to the health of our organization and the communities we serve.

As the new decade dawns, we are proud to share our equity values statement, an articulation of our deeply-rooted values of justice, equity, and fairness.

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