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We have been receiving an increasing number of questions from MoveOn members about the makeup of our staff, especially our racial demographics. With this post we are moving to make that information more transparent.
As of June 12, 2020, 51% of our staff identify as people of color (16% identify as Black) and 49% identify as white. Amongst our managers (anyone who manages another person on the team), 47% identify as people of color. And on our senior management team (departmental managers), 44% identify as people of color.
Those demographics represent all of our current staff including our regular core staff and our temporary election staff. For our regular, core staff overall, 44% identify as people of color (16% identify as Black); this number is lower than our overall current staff because our demographics have shifted over time (so staff who have been with the organization longer are more likely to identify as white, and our more recent hires, including our temporary staff, are more likely to identify as POC). For our temporary staff hired this year (we hire temporary staff during election years), 78% identify as people of color. For our regular, core staff hired in the last 2 years, 90% identify as people of color.
Additionally, 63% of our staff identify as female, and 25% of our staff identify as LGBTQ.
Of course, diversity is a very different thing than equity or justice, though they are related: being intentional about equity can help an organization recruit and retain a diverse staff; and having a diverse team can enhance an organization’s ability to create an equitable internal culture and advance equity in its external work.
For most of MoveOn’s 20-year history, we have had a majority white membership and staff. About 8 years ago, the organization began prioritizing equity work, including holding occasional staff discussions and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion education & trainings.
In 2017, MoveOn recognized that it needed to take intentional steps and more deeply invest in internal work around equity and racial justice. We engaged external partners to support us in this work — in particular AORTA and The Justice Collective — who we have been working with for the last few years. Through our work with them, we built an equity roadmap to identify key areas in our work and organization where we most needed to give attention, focus, and resources to advance equity. We also formed race and gender based caucuses and working groups. We have created a cross-team advisory body that is intentionally racially diverse to advise on our organizational strategy and program. All staff are expected to dedicate time and energy to advancing equity in the course of their regular work, and are evaluated on this in performance evaluations.
We see equity as an essential practice, not a destination. Our current work in this area focuses on developing equitable processes, bringing a strong equity lens to our external-facing work, and developing staff skills and knowledge to counter white supremacy culture and other intersecting systems of oppression. While we have made progress in some areas, we continue to work on a variety of challenges that we still face as an organization and staff team in how we work together and show up in the world. We expect to continue to do this work — we don’t believe we will reach an endpoint where we will be done in this journey.