Published January 2021
In February 2019, Fresh Energy launched its Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In 2020, Fresh Energy’s Board of Directors adopted a new strategic framework, elevating equity as a key pillar of our work. Management and staff of Fresh Energy are reaffirming and deepening our commitment with this Commitment to Anti-Racism.
We recognize that racism is a systemic, institutional, structural, and individual problem in the United States, which has manifested in many forms of oppression from the colonization of Indigenous lands and the enslavement of African people, to the refusal of basic civil rights to communities of color, to the dehumanizing acts we continue to see today, across our country and here at home. These are just a few examples of the toxic combination of prejudice and power–a combination which creates systems that benefit some to the detriment of others.
We must be clear: the institutional and societal legacies of racism and systemic oppression are rooted in white supremacy. As a historically white-led organization in a largely white sector, we recognize that addressing racism at all levels requires intentionality and action. We cannot be neutral, and we cannot be silent.
As an organization with power and privilege, we recognize our duty and responsibility to work within our sphere of influence to change the systems, actions, and attitudes that have allowed injustice to continue. We must challenge the status quo, and embrace our peers and colleagues to move forward in this journey together.
In furtherance of our Commitment to Anti-Racism, we have already taken, or are taking, the following actions:
- More deeply elevate, analyze, and report on the racial impacts of our policy and advocacy work to better understand who is benefitting from our efforts, and avoid unintended negative impacts;
- Evaluate and act on opportunities to use our voice to speak out against systemic inequities and in support of solutions to racist structures and systems;
- Build and maintain a clear and objective framework detailing expectations and advancement pathways for all positions, so that each staff person understands the ways in which their skills can be utilized in their current position (and future positions), and to reduce the likelihood of implicit bias affecting advancement decisions;
- Establish a salary structure with clear definitions for salary grades so that all staff persons at Fresh Energy understand the defined salary range for their position and the next higher salary grade;
- Continually improve our recruiting and hiring practices (for example, by engaging with diverse networking groups in the Twin Cities and conducting an internal staff demographics assessment annually) and publish starting salary ranges on every job posting at Fresh Energy;
- Create and hold spaces to listen to our own Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) staff and partners to ensure belonging and accountability, with an emphasis on opportunities for our own learning and growth;
- Observing Juneteenth as a paid holiday for all staff;
- Support the Board of Directors in its efforts toward diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism, and creating a welcoming environment at Board meetings where all voices are heard;
- Implement our Equity Strategic Action Plan, which includes strategies to create a welcoming and inclusive office space and ensure that our financial investments support racial equity; and
- Continually explore aspects of the organization and our work to advance anti-racism.
We know that this work will not always be easy, and that we may struggle and even fail at times. But we are committed to owning our mistakes, combatting complicity, and continuing to learn, grow, and act–through the actions listed above and more. We are committed to holding ourselves accountable. And we are committed to transforming the systems and structures that cause systemic inequities, to create the profound change that is needed in Minnesota and beyond.