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The Challenge of Negotiating Race in Cross-Sector Spaces

We must take on the difficult work of accounting for race and racism in our collective change-making endeavors or face the risk of failing to undo systemic inequities.

In 2016, when I started researching the successes and failures of cross-sector partnerships like My Brother’s Keeper (MBK), I chose not to foreground race.

That was a mistake.

I quickly learned that race and what I call racial negotiation—the leveraging of the power of race to achieve a goal—are at the crux of collective-action efforts aiming to address deep societal inequities.

We must account for this dynamic in our change-making endeavors or risk failing to achieve the ultimate transformation needed to undo systemic inequities: the acknowledgment and eradication of racism.

Read More at Stanford Social Innovation Review

Tabitha Bentley
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Dr. Bentley specializes in Research and evaluation strategy, collective commitment and action, and cross-sector partnership work. She's Researched and written about the past 50 years of change and commitment to cross-sector work in communities of color, and she uses her historical knowledge to inform organizational and social impact strategy. She was the first strategy director for Washtenaw County My Brother's Keeper (a collective action initiative aiming to serve boys and men of color), and has also held positions as a Research facilitator, Education Pioneers Research Fellow, and teacher. She currently works as a Senior Researcher for Basis Policy Research. Dr. Bentley is a skilled facilitator and has consulted on school and organizational challenges such as district consolidation, racial disproportionalities, complex and multi-modal data use, and innovative evaluation processes. She holds a PhD in Education Policy, Masters in Public Policy, and has written multiple articles that can have appeared in sources such as Urban Education and the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

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