SOREN uses equity protocols to guide our network’s understanding of racial equity and diverse lived experiences so we can build perspective, grapple with tensions, and create a dignity-affirming culture in Southern Oregon’s schools where the environment is inclusive and inviting; people can show up authentically without fear; racial diversity, ethnic heritage, culture, and multiple languages are appreciated as assets; hard truths, limiting beliefs, and harmful systems are reckoned with and revamped; and everyone knows, feels, and can confidently say, “I am safe, I matter, and I belong at school and in my community.”
Protocols to disrupt inequities and disparities are integrated into all of our community engagement and professional learning activities. It is our goal to shift a commonly held belief that equity work, and associated protocols, are saved for equity-specific professional learning. We intend to listen deeply, share stories, make room for healing (ourselves and others), connect what we have in common, and strengthen relationships across our differences so we can improve experiences and foster conditions for true belonging.
Equity protocols are a vital step for us to build functional teams, facilitate courageous conversations, and ultimately create conditions that support SOREN’s Aim to increase safety, significance, and belonging. The protocols serve an especially important role in Southern Oregon by shining a light on the influence of the dominant culture while also pushing on members to engage with curiosity and ask how privilege, beliefs and biases may show up in ourselves, in our experiences, and our systems.