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6 Principals for Cultural Organizations Ready to Launch an Equity Journey

Cheyenne Cohn-Postell, Program Officer, Mass Cultural Council; and Mikey Murry, Black Cultural Storyteller & Education Strategist, UBUNTU Research and Evaluation

A guide to starting your organization’s transformative racial equity journey


11 members of UBUNTU's team - all wearing UBUNTU t-shirts and smiling
UBUNTU Team Photo 2021

As a part of Mass Cultural Council’s ongoing racial equity work, the Agency partnered with UBUNTU Research and Evaluation to offer anti-bias trainings for cultural organizations participating in the Universal Participation InitiativeCard to Culture, and Social Prescription learning communities in Fiscal Year 2022.

UBUNTU Research and Evaluation is a strategic-learning organization powered by unapologetic Black women, femmes, and non-binary folks. They work as transdisciplinary strategists committed to resisting anti-Blackness and building the intellectual and political defenses of all Black people, in solidarity with the global majority, through education, facilitation, and evaluation.

The trainings began in December 2021 with two, large group learning modules, and then progressed to two, one-hour, small group advising sessions for members of preset organizational tiers: public-facing staff, management, and board leadership.

These sessions were crafted with the goal of leaving participants with:

  • An increased understanding of systemic oppression and their role within that system
  • Shared language
  • Increased organizational capacity for equity work
  • Commitments that build individual responsibility and capacity regarding systemic change
  • The ability to identify points of harm and key resolutions moving forward​

While the specific information shared by UBUNTU Research and Evaluation is not Mass Cultural Council’s insight to share, we are proud to share a summary presentation of our work with them.

The formation of the equitable, brave “Beloved Community” is the only way organizations can truly transform. To frame this work and the life-long commitment needed to achieve it, UBUNTU always launches learning modules with their six principles.

UBUNTU’s 6 Principles for Creating Space to Make Transformative Change

Our work is not the end. We do not do the work of transforming your organization. You do. As individuals and as a collective. Our responsibility may include providing insight, tools, resources, and recommendation but ultimately the responsibility to radically transform your organization rests on you. Without personal work within the collective, the organization cannot increase its capacity to create equity for itself or the people it serves.

Our work together cannot, will not and should not end neatly — we are working against systems of oppression that are pervasive in the cultures of our organizations and that work is persistent and ongoing. Everyone is on different journeys and will learn how to do things at different paces, we cannot expect everyone to be on the same page within a short time frame.

Our work as Black women, we will be harmed through this process. We do specific work for ourselves to manage, deal, heal, and restore from harm as it is inevitable in this job. We are not responsible for addressing every microaggression that we personally experience. You need to prepare to deal with unconsciously committing harm by making a commitment to unlearning.

Use your race words. Our work is racial equity, justice, and liberation. Any discomfort from individuals or the organization to name race specifically and intentionally limits the depth of the work. If you do not know what to say or how to say it, acknowledge the opportunity to learn and move forward with radical vulnerability that serves you, your peers, and your organization.

Our work is undervalued. As Black women, with an abundance of lived experiences, advanced degrees and training we provide a level of critical analysis that could not ever actually be fully compensated. Our scopes of work have been diligently created to be mindful of our emotional and intellectual capacity to meet the goals of this project. We are willing to discuss adjustments and additions but cannot do so without adjustments.

Our work is to make the world better, especially for Black Futures. Our thoughts, ideas, and materials are ours. We work with like-minded organizations and retain specific ownership over our individual and collective work. You do not have the liberty to use our work materials, processes, ideas, or activities.


To create your own connection to UBUNTU Research and Evaluation, check out their social media channels, or join the UBUNTU Research mailing list.

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