We realize that our communities, students, and residents do not all share the same life experiences or the same needs. Consequently, we support our grantees in efforts to explore what equity means for their work and how their organizations can ensure that they are working to meet the diverse and specific needs of their target population.
Our county has struggled to bounce back from the economic recession, but there are many visions for how our communities can become healthy and vibrant places again. We will realize these visions and become stronger together if every one of us has access to real opportunities for health, education, employment, entrepreneurship, and success. If we can remove the barriers to opportunity within our county, we can work together to build a path to prosperity for all Rockingham County residents.
An equitable community is not one where everyone achieves the same outcomes or makes the same gains. It is a community where outcomes and gains are not correlated or predicted by identity. It is not a place where everyone gets the same thing, but a place where everyone has access to what they need.
Equity work is difficult. It is challenging and can be uncomfortable. Although we recognize that we come from different backgrounds and bring different life experiences with us, it is difficult to hear and process how those experiences have shaped outcomes for our children, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. It can be extremely uncomfortable for some of us to challenge our own beliefs and those of the individuals and communities that have shaped us.
Equity work is also eye-opening, empowering, and exciting. It helps us to see how the social norms and rules we take for granted help to shape our experiences and our lives. It gives us insights into the lives of others and helps us to build bridges across differences that previously seemed too big to cross. We are building candid, trust-based relationships with new allies and partners. Relationships and social connections sustain us as individuals and organizations.
If you are interested in learning more about our equity work or the Rockingham County Racial Equity Learning Community, please contact us. We are constantly learning, deepening our understanding of equity issues, and applying what we learn to our work. We are happy to share our journey with new partners and friends.