Walking the Talk: What Embodying Racial Equity Looks Like at CBV

Walking the Talk: What Embodying Racial Equity Looks Like at CBV

Working at CommunityBuild Ventures is like a dream of racial equity come true. I wake up each morning calm and rested. I actually look forward to being a part of meetings, because I can show up as my full self regardless of the highs and lows. I can show up and be curious and thoughtful, energetic and playful, or tired and distant, and not be ashamed about how I may be feeling that day, or worse yet, scared to be punitively treated or reprimanded.

As a matter of fact, my humanity is not only welcomed and accepted but it is encouraged that I show up transparently and authentically! As an Associate Project Consultant, my role is mainly administrative support, and yet I am still valued as we co-design our curriculums and strategize around our goals as a team. I am given space to learn, grow, and think. I’m actually *encouraged* to rest and practice self-care. 

Long story short, at CBV, we are a living embodiment of the values we preach and teach. And it shows! We are thriving as individuals and as an organization! 

The Confirmation of Examples

For example, we actually practice Brave Space Building at the beginning of *every single meeting* internally, because sharing our feelings, gratitudes and intentions are a critical part of making space for us as staff to show up authentically and lean into the deeper strategy and conversations to follow. We not only model this externally, but practice this internally — as a matter of fact, most if not all of our internal values and practices mirror our external ones with partners and community.  This alignment is so amazing to be a part of, and I feel so grateful to be healing through the process and to be in community with the CBV team and project leadership along the way. 

Another one of my favorite examples of this embodiment within the organization is our culture of healing and self-care. CBV hosts monthly healing sessions for our cooperative, where members can show up at any stage and be in a facilitated community space for healing. We also intentionally create spaces for pauses and breaks — not only do we practice Black-out Fridays where the CBV office is closed *every* Friday, but this year, we are taking the *entire* month of June off in celebration of Juneteenth, allowing staff time to rest and reflect. You read that right! Examples like this make it clear to me that CBV isn’t just *saying* that we believe in self-care, but we understand that it is necessary for liberation, and have the practices to match.

I wish more organizations knew and understood that as an organization, we actually believe and practice the racial equity tools and practices that we share and model. CBV often teaches an ‘understand, embrace, and embody’ racial equity model when it comes to unpacking and staying curious about the role that white supremacy and capitalism play in our organizations and daily lives. From my perspective, we are deep in the racial equity embodiment phase, and it shows because every single practice within the organization is intentional and reflects the values that we believe in. 

I’ve heard CBV referred to as a sanctuary space by one of our cooperative members, and I couldn’t agree more. As CBV celebrates our ten-year celebration as an organization, I’m excited and encouraged by what the next ten years of this journey will look like, and I’m excited to continue learning and growing along the way!

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