Equal Voice is deeply saddened and outraged by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, and stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the global outcry for peace and justice for the BIPOC community. We believe that speaking up against systemic racism is critical if we want to succeed in our mission of electing more women to all levels of political office.
The past 18 months have been times of extraordinary upheaval and change at Equal Voice. In this time, we have confronted and recognized the need for change within our own organization. We acknowledge and apologize for the harm experienced by some delegates who took part in our Daughters of the Vote program, as well as former Board, staff, members, and program participants, and are committed to doing better.
We know that doing better and supporting women and gender-diverse people requires us to critically examine our own internal structures.
Under the leadership of a new Board of Directors we have been working to embed equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) throughout the organization. This has included training for Board members, further reviewing workplace policies and our programs through an equity lens, developing workplace values and a diversity statement, hiring a senior equity advisor, and ongoing regular training on anti-racism and EDI for all staff. As a team, and as individuals, we are learning to better recognize our privileges and biases, and the impact they have on each other and our programs. We know we have a long way to go – but are committed to learning and unlearning, to ensure EDI and accessibility are at the heart of all of our work.
We also recognize Equal Voice has a role to play in raising awareness about the racism within modern day politics and how systemic racism and the colonialism embedded within our political institutions has impacted Black, Indigenous and Women of Colours’ participation in politics. We commit to amplify BIPOC voices, and work with political parties, elected officials, candidates, community organizations, and other groups to combat these injustices.
As part of our journey to do better, we have spent the past year developing a Strategic Plan, which we are pleased to share with you today. This plan is the result of a year listening and learning from event participants, from Equal Voice members, community organizations, and our partners. We are so grateful to everyone who took the time to provide input and help us develop this plan for the future.
Through this strategic plan, Equal Voice is committed to multipartisanship and creating a pathway for women and gender-diverse people, in all of their intersectional identities, to run for elected office. Unless all of us succeed, none of us do.
We know that change is delivered through action, not just words, and that combating systemic racism is critical not just today, but everyday. As we deliver on our strategic plan over the coming months and years, we hope to bring about a new phase in Equal Voice’s history - and we hope to do it alongside each of you. Thank you for your commitment to electing more women to all levels of political office. We look forward to working together.
Sharmila Setaram, Chair of Equal Voice Board of Directors
Eleanor Fast, Executive Director of Equal Voice