Our Point of View
“We need to discern who we are and expand on our humanness and sacredness. That’s how we change the world, which happens because WE will be the change.” – Grace Lee Boggs
Equity requires re-imagining the purpose of your leadership institution – transforming paradigms as well as practice. Grounded in the fields of organization and leadership development, social transformation, and movement building, we bring a race-explicit intersectional power analysis and practical tools to amplify the impact of your mission and benefit the communities you care about and exist to serve.
With shared analysis, skills, and confidence, groups that have a sincere commitment and courage to change can align strategy, programs, advocacy, internal operations, and group culture with the values and practices of racial and social justice for greater impact and integrity. We support groups to articulate an equity identity and point of view, as well as a strategy for achieving results that people can feel in their lives, both inside the institution and out, because of its aligned values and actions.
We offer ourselves as active consultant-partners, which means we do not aim to be “neutral”; we bring, with transparency, a point of view, specific frameworks, and critical analysis about race, power, and privilege – alongside deep respect for the wisdom within a group and a spirit of relentless learning and humility.
Here are some of the core beliefs that ground our approach:
We focus on equity – which must be explicit about power.
We define equity as: “A proactive strategic mindset and method that confronts structural differences in power, opportunities, burdens, and needs to design targeted, systemic solutions and deliver results that matter and last.”
As a lens, equity focuses on outcomes and the root structures that contribute to them. Distinct from diversity and inclusion lenses, the essential question that an equity lens demands is, “How is power operating?” The aim is to shift not only the numerical representation and quality of engagement among participants but also the ownership and agency of stakeholders – especially those most marginalized – in the decisions, structures, and outcomes that impact them.
We pursue equity as one essential pathway in service of racial and social justice.
Equity must be both explicitly anti-racist and intersectional.
Because of this focus on power, equity requires an explicit analysis of race. Race serves as a “master design” for all sorts of power systems and relationships, in the U.S. and across the globe. Race persists as the most reliable predictor of outcomes because it was designed by its underlying ideology, white supremacy, to be so. This explicit focus on race does not preclude an intersectional analysis; rather, it informs and enables it. Structural racism directly informs and also works intersectionally with other systems of power, privilege, and oppression such as sexism, heterosexism, ableism, and classism to produce inequality and injustice in myriad forms. Progress on all social issues depends on robust race-explicit systems analysis to uncover the root structures and power dynamics that drive outcomes in any given context, across geography, issue, and identity.
Because it is systems change work, equity is inherently disruptive.
Equity is counter to current outcomes as well as the ways of doing business that produce those outcomes. It is necessarily and purposefully disruptive. Equity requires engagement and disruption at multiple levels: individually to build agency and efficacy along with sharpened analysis; collectively to advance new policies and narratives for what is possible and needed; institutionally to literally do business differently; as a sector to work in solidarity with social change movements for more meaningful and sustainable impact. While some changes might be technical or tactical, the work of integrating equity into a group’s DNA is fundamentally adaptive change* – it will require changes to core beliefs, priorities, habits, and loyalties, even ones that have contributed to the organization’s past success. This is, necessarily, lifelong work.
*Based on the work of Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky, Cambridge Leadership Associates and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Our Guiding Values
This is our threshold value. We commit to bringing our very best to every endeavor. We recognize that what our client-partners do is incredibly important, and often risky. We aim to match your efforts with our own and to relentlessly strive to help you make progress toward your vision of racial and social justice.
We come to this work as steadfast and humble accomplices in the struggle for racial and social justice. We strive to show up as good partners to our clients and your stakeholders, sharing power and responsibility for results. We are transparent and accountable with our client-partners and with each other.
This one can be tricky because we do not want to imply that it is possible for us, or anyone, to bestow power on anyone else. We believe in the fundamental right and ability of all people to determine their own destinies. We aim to use our power with integrity and intentionality, to be explicit about power, and to act in ways that expand power rather than limit it. Our approach to the work is to build sustainable capacities that continue after our engagement concludes.
Though we are clear that racism, sexism, and other oppressions inhibit everyone’s ability to be fully human in this world, we recognize that we, too, are on a lifelong journey of learning and discovery. We bring a spirit of generosity, compassion, authenticity, and hospitality wherever we go. We take our work seriously, but not ourselves.
Our Pricing Philosophy
OpenSource values relationships over transactions.
We do not have standard daily or hourly rates – in part, because we very rarely engage in discrete, short-term, tactical interventions that can be measured in days or hours. Rather, just as the engagement must be customized to each client-partner’s needs, the fee structure also must be customized to reflect the value and complexity of the deliverable as well as the budget and capacity of the client-partner.
If there’s a fit between your needs and our capabilities, if we are clear on the scope of work and boundaries, and if we share a spirit of working in partnership, we are confident that we can negotiate a fee that allows both of us to sustain ourselves in the lifelong struggle for justice.