Tips for your pro-equity anti-racism journey.


We are each responsible for our own learning. It is not the responsibility of your employer, your neighborhood, your state, county or city, your church, your school, or anyone else to teach you about another culture, the complexity of our nation’s history around inequality, inequity, racism, and oppression. You are responsible and accountable to yourself in perpetuating inequity, racism, and oppression or for being part of the change to liberation, justice, and belonging for all. The following tips may assist you in navigating your journey.

Develop an Equity Lens

Light bulb on a book with a hand over it.

“If folks can’t imagine you as a human, all the policy in the world is irrelevant” -Ta-Nehisi Coates

One of the most effective methods for perpetuating oppression is divide and conquer. It is so effective because many of us don’t know enough about people different from ourselves and we are susceptible to ideas that dehumanize and blame others. It is easier to treat other groups of people badly when we don’t believe they are like us. The problem is the very solutions that would help other people groups would also help ourselves. Seriously, no joke.

Learning about the culture and experience of different groups of people, including our own, is part of the humanization process. It also helps us gain appreciation for different ways of living. Learning how our country has and continues to hurt people groups, including our own, helps us to see others as like us.

When we learn and accept that our systems are not fair (from both an equity and an equality perspective), we can dismiss the harmful stereotypes that serve to blame groups of people for negative outcomes they disproportionately experience. You can then begin to change your own practices that perpetuate oppression, knowingly or unknowingly, on others.

What is an Equity Lens?

We don’t use the phrase “equity lens” to mean the tool or process you use to create equitable outcomes. We use the phrase “equity lens” to mean the perspective you bring to the tool or process you use to create equitable outcomes. Because, no matter what tool or process you use, you will still create inequity if you haven’t done your own personal work or even started your personal journey to understand equity.

Plain Talk Definition: Understanding that our systems (K-12 is a system, public benefits is a system) and processes (how people file for unemployment benefits, how people can receive a driver’s license are examples of processes) benefit some of us and create barriers for others so that you can create anti-racist, just, and equitable outcomes.

Person with a pen and paper using a laptop.

How to Begin Developing an Equity Lens?


Since 2020 and George Floyd’s murder, the number and variety of resources have exploded. There are resources on many streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, and Disney to learn about other people groups and your own group. There are podcasts, movies, books, audio books, documentaries. Whatever your preference for receiving information and learning, find options for your preference. You can even find sources at your local library, books, audiobooks, and other media.


How do you know if the book or documentary you’re viewing is accurate? Use more than one source. If several sources are telling a similar story, it’s probably accurate. The idea that you’ve found the one document out of the many that is telling the truth is unlikely. It’s more likely that the one document you’ve found is lying. Lying? Yes, we don’t use terms like disinformation and misinformation. We like plain language. They’re lies.


Find people to discuss what you’re learning with. This is also a helpful tip to check what you’re learning for accuracy. It also helps to cement your learning. Discussing with others is a good way to increase your awareness and understanding about a topic or issue by adding bits of information you may not have had.


Developing an equity lens is a journey. Some of us are farther along and have been on it longer than others, but none of us are “there”. None of us are perfect and none of us should feel like we know if all. Be wary of others who say they know if all. So keep learning and keep growing your understanding.

You should become better and better of answering questions about why some people groups have less money, less wealth, lower rates of graduation, home ownership, and employment, higher rates of incarceration and homelessness, and worse health outcomes than other groups. You should be able to identify and challenge your own biases and internal narratives about others.

Grow Through Action

Plants with hands dripping water over them.

You cannot learn your way into anti-racism. You can only get to anti-racism through action, and action means mistakes. Every decision we make and action we take will either be racist or not racist. And mistakes will happen. But mistakes don’t make you racist. The next time you come to the same decision point, you have the opportunity to embody anti-racism by making the decision that leads down the path to equity and belonging instead of personal comfort. That is how you ensure that is how you ensure that “racist” does not become a noun instead of a verb. That will help us reach a future where anti-racism supplants racism.