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Community Equity Principles

To respond to the challenges of our time, the Whidbey Institute must increasingly embody an engaged commitment to equity and justice. We believe that transformational outcomes are possible when we work to deconstruct and understand our identities and worldviews.

The Whidbey Institute was founded with a commitment to social and environmental justice. At the same time, it has been strongly influenced throughout its history by patterns and behaviors that are predominantly rooted in white, privileged, cis-gendered, able-bodied, middle-upper class, US American, and Christian culture. The Whidbey Institute team recognizes that people have had experiences here of feeling marginalized, oppressed, unseen, or unwelcome. We commit to ongoing effort as an organization moving toward equity.

As part of our effort, members of the Whidbey Institute team commit to honor the following community equity principles and invite all who come here to do the same.

1. PRESENCE: We commit to authentic, vulnerable presence.

2. RESPONSIBILITY FOR LEARNING: Each of us is responsible for ourselves and our own learning. We question and address our own roles in systems of injustice.

3. IMPACT & INTENTION: We consider impact, not just intention, and the ways our statements and actions affect others.

4. BEYOND INCLUSION: We honor and are shaped by the diverse ways in which people learn, communicate, think, act, and express themselves.

5. ATTENTION: When listening to others, we notice and take responsibility for our own assumptions and expectations. If feelings of reactivity arise in us, we examine whether they are influenced by structural inequities, including unexamined privilege.

6. REFLECTION & CLARIFICATION: We take the time to reflect upon and clarify what we’ve heard when doing so can help us reach shared meaning.

7. ACCOUNTABILITY: When witnessing oppression or marginalization, we hold ourselves and others accountable to speak up—in the moment, soon after, or with help from another.

8. VOICING OUR EXPERIENCES: When experiencing oppression or marginalization, we speak to the facts, feelings, and impact when and if we wish to.

9. CONTEXT: When appropriate, we recognize and state the factors—including but not limited to race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation—that inform our views.

10. PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION: We acknowledge that perfection can be an obstacle to courageous conversations. The work of collective liberation is complex and lifelong.

11. FEEDBACK: When receiving feedback we commit to being open-minded and receptive, especially when the message is uncomfortable. When giving feedback we speak to the specific facts, feelings, and impact of our experience.

12. REPAIRING CONNECTIONS: We understand that authenticity and patience can help invite learning rather than shame, providing opportunities to repair connections and build trust.

If you have questions or comments about these principles, please email [email protected].