Friends General Conference

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Institutional Assessment on Racism Update and Survey Launch: May 2018

By By Sharon Lane-Getaz and Justin Connor, Co-clerks of the Institutional Assessment Working Group and the Task Forc | 4/30/18


The Institutional Assessment (IA) Survey of FGC Friends aims to identify evidence of institutional racism that may have crept into FGC's practices and procedures. The survey is a first step to respond to concerns lifted up via petition at the 2016 Gathering. During 2017 FGC raised targeted funds to retain Crossroads, a nonprofit organization that works with faith communities to critically examine their culture, practices, policies and structure in order to identify systemic racism and work toward anti-racist transformation. Crossroads carries out their mission by training institutional transformation teams.

Crossroads trained our FGC Institutional Assessment (IA) team in November 2017. Forty-three FGC staff members, committee clerks, yearly meeting representatives and a twelve-member Task Force met at Stony Point Retreat Center, NY. The Task Force met an additional day to begin work by dividing into three teams:

(1) The Continuum team, whose focus is to assess the degree to which FGC is transforming into a multicultural, anti-racist organization.

(2) The Matrix team, whose focus is to examine FGC power structures.

(3) The Survey team, whose focus is to design and administer this survey.

The Institutional Assessment Survey on Racism provides a space where FGC Quakers can examine how we live into our stated value of the beloved community. It is important to capture testimonies from all FGC constituencies, particularly from Friends of Color. Truth telling can help us discover the difference between who we want to be and who we are. As a community we need to open our collective eyes to what may have crept into our FGC practices. While many Friends are actively engaged in personal work to root out racism, that does not absolve FGC as a whole from dealing with institutional, systemic racism.

The IA survey gathers Friends’ opinions and experiences of systemic racism within FGC’s organizational structure, culture, programs, personnel practices, and Monthly and Yearly Meetings. The survey results will be validated with Focus groups and with hard data collected from FGC records. Look for the "IA Drop-in space" at the 2018 Gathering where we will make the IA project visible to FGC Friends, provide updates, field questions, and hold Focus Groups. The Crossroads Workshop attendees will be present for drop-ins on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons.

Survey dissemination plan is to send invitations via an emailed link to:

  • Adult Young Friends (AYF), co-clerks
  • Fellowship of Friends of African Descent, clerk 
  • FGC-affiliated Yearly Meetings and directly affiliated Monthly Meetings, clerks
  • FGC's Vital Friends newsletter and social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter)
  • Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC) co-clerks
  • 2016 Petition signers

All recipients of the IA survey link are encouraged to complete the IA survey and distribute the link widely among their distribution lists of FGC Friends and other important constituencies, particularly Friends of Color. Expect the survey link in your email on May 1st.

FGC Institutional Assessment Timeline

May 1st: Launch the Institutional Assessment on Racism Survey via email invitations

May 31st: Collect survey data for 4 weeks in May with a reminder email after 2 weeks

June 30th: Analyze survey responses to inform Pre-Gathering and Gathering Focus Groups

July 31st: Summarize and synthesize survey, Focus Group, and hard data from FGC records

August 10-12th: Finalize IA Recommendations with Crossroads’ guidance at Task Force Meeting 

Sept./Oct. 2018: Present recommendations to Executive and Central Committees

In addition, the IA team has proposed to write an article about our process and what was learned for Friends Journal. Friends Journal is excited to publish the article in January 2019. 

Share your input through the survey from now until May 30th.


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Why is FGC undertaking an Institutional Assessment on Racism?

Visit the Institutional Assessment on Racism homepage to learn more.