A DIY Guide to Institutional Change for Racial Equity
Step 6 - Maintain momentum
6 - A. Settle in for the long haul.
The arc of the moral universe only bends toward justice if there are people applying the force. The inequities that inhabit our institutions are a result of hundreds of years of history. They will not go away overnight. They will not fade as a result of one eloquent speech or a single anti-racism training. Maintaining momentum is important not just because the changes needed are difficult but because the work of creating better institutions is continuous. It will not actually ever end. Anti-racism is not a condition, not something static that an institution can reach. It is a verb, something to be continually practiced.
6 - B. Take breaks.
There is no shame in exhaustion. Take time to recharge but then get back in the fight.
6 - C. Don’t stop recruiting people.
New people bring energy but can also remind everyone else why they are doing this work.
6 - D. Celebrate small victories.
This isn't just to keep spirits up. All of this is a training process, a way of building community with each other and power to demand the large scale, substantive changes necessary. Small victories are proof change is possible and proof of the need to commit to continuing to push.
6 - E. Reaffirm solidarity.
People will tend to backslide into individual strategic considerations. Remind them that they are in community with each other and this unity is what gives them power. Having people verbally affirm solidarity with each other can strengthen group ties.
6 - F. Cherish your allies.
Tell them that you do. Enough said.
6 - G. When you leave, pass on what you know.
In our lives, we will enter and leave communities, walk into and away from institutions. The best we can do is try to leave those institutions better than when we encountered them. If you do all the right things, you may still fail. You will almost certainly not reach all your goals. Don't be discouraged or think your work was wasted. But when you leave, share what you have learned. Name names, pass on records, write your experience down.