This paper provides strategies for ensuring that collaborations in the provision of crime victim services apply a “racial equity lens” that will help expose the subtle, yet pervasive mechanisms that contribute to the marginalization of people of color and culturally specific organizations (CSOs).
The paper defines “collaboration” as a “mutually beneficial, well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve common goals.” This includes a commitment to mutual relationships and goals, a jointly developed structure and shared responsibility, mutual authority and accountability for success, and sharing of resources and rewards. This paper notes, however, that it is not uncommon to find that collaborations amount to little more than a referral network, function independently, and centralize leadership and control. This can occur in both partnerships that include and those that exclude or marginalize. This paper provides guidance for the marginalize CSOs. It notes that “transformational collaborations that promote equity require a commitment to understand structural racism, admit how what we design is influenced by it, and acknowledge how each of us, our work, and our organization is shaped by it.” This paper proposes strategies that foster racial equity in collaboration. It includes suggestions for self-examination and organizational examination of the tools used to define and measure success and failure. Recommendations are provided for analyzing current partnerships. The paper concludes with the statement that “transformational collaborations can promote equity, inclusion, and meaningful engagement. They will produce more useful tools, minimize tokenism and the replication of institutional oppressions, and contribute to environments that share power and foster racial equity.”
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