Equity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism
Parrott Creek is committed to pursuing policies, institutional strategies and program development that promote equity, inclusion and anti-racist practice in all our work. We are committed to identifying, challenging, and changing the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate systemic racism in our society.
To Parrott Creek, anti-racism is an active way of seeing and being in the world so that we can do our part to transform the systems, organizations, policies and practices that govern our lives. We ground this approach in our daily work to look at:
- How racism affects the lived experience of people of color and Indigenous people;
- How racism is systemic, is part of many foundational aspects of our society throughout history, and can be manifested in both individual attitudes and behaviours as well as formal (and “unspoken”) policies and practices within institutions;
- How white people participate, often unknowingly, in racism.*
Our ethos and work has always been founded on the principle that youth and their families should be fully involved in creating individualized goals for themselves, to best meet their needs, in equal partnership with staff when in our care. They are the experts in their own lives and lived experiences, not us. We also recognize that, while the aim of our work is to support individuals to develop skills and resiliency, much of this work is dominated by a white, middle-class professional sector. So, even as Parrott Creek works with an intentional focus on reducing bias and disproportionality, we can still fail to root elements of this work in a family or child’s own culture, language, faith, identity and/or belief systems. As hard as we try, we know that we will not always get it right and ask our participants and communities to let us know each and every time that we don’t.
While we feel that we have a good foundation of diversity to build from, we are firmly committed to meeting four overriding objectives:
- Ensuring that our programs, services and “how we work” are culturally responsive and anti-racist
- Recruiting, retaining and promoting staff and board members who reflect the communities and backgrounds of our those whom we serve
- Developing strong community partnerships where we enter the relationship asking, “What can we do for or with you to strengthen your community and combat racism and inequality in all its forms?”
- Embedding an anti-racist ethos across the organization
- Approximately 60% of our staff comes from diverse backgrounds: 27% represent a community of color or are bi-cultural; 33% represent the LBGTQI community; 1% live with a disability; 15% care for a disabled child or parent in their home and 66% are first generation college graduates.
- This compares to a client demographic that is approximately 62% Caucasian, 23% Hispanic, 11% African American, 2% Native American and 2% Multi-racial.
- The vast majority of our participants come from low-income families and communities, have high levels of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences, face substance misuse and/or mental health challenges and increasingly struggle with housing insecurity and homelessness.
- Our Trustee and Advisory boards are comprised of approximately 30% women, 10% people of color and we have two individuals with lived-experience of the issues we focus on, including a former service user.
Our Equity & Inclusion Strategy (please download here) outlines our more detailed goals and targets. We were recently asked if we thought these were too ambitious, to which our response was: we would rather achieve 75% of a stretch target than 100% of an easy one! We invite you to dig deep in to our hopes for achieving equity within our work, our organization and the community we serve. We welcome your active involvement, support and guidance. We ask that you hold us accountable.
*Credit: Alberta Civil Liberties Research Center