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The Challenge of Negotiating Race in Cross-Sector Spaces

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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 strategy, collective commitment and action, and cross-sector partnership work. She's researched 50 years' worth of cross-sector work within communities of color. She currently serves as the first strategy director of Washtenaw County My Brother's Keeper- a collective action initiative with 5 institutional partners, where she engages and co-constructs with group over 50 men and youth of color across the county. She has worked as a research facilitator and strategist for Washtenaw Intermediate School District, consulting on school challenges such as district consolidation, complex and multi-modal data use, and leading innovative evaluation processes. She's a former classroom teacher and college counselor, as well as Education Pioneers research fellow. She holds a PhD in Education 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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