Caucusing

copy-of-caucus-announcement

Are you interested in expanding your awareness about race and racism? Are you interested in learning new knowledge about the impact of racism on yourself, institutions and educational systems? Are you intrigued by learning new skills to address and end institutional racism? Would you like to learn how to become an effective advocate for race equity?

If you answer “YES” to these questions , please consider participating in our Caucusing program!

Upcoming Caucusing Dates

Just follow the instructions below and you will be able to add caucusing sessions to your Outlook calendar!

Instructions:

  1. Click on the session you’d like to attend
  2. Hit “open” and wait for 10-15 seconds for the appointment to load
  3. Once the meeting pops up, hit “save and close” on the top left corner
  4. The caucusing session will now be on your calendar!

Caucusing:  Renton ~ 11am – 1:30pm

Sept. 24, 2019

Oct. 29, 2019

Nov. 12, 2019

Dec. 17, 2019

Jan. 21, 2020

Feb. 18, 2020

Mar. 31, 2020

Apr. 21, 2020

May 26, 2020

Jun. 23, 2020

Jul. 21, 2020

Aug. 25, 2020

Caucusing FAQ’s

What is Caucusing?

Answer

The purpose of race-based caucusing is to provide a safe place for continued discussion and exploration of institutional racism and to identify key changes that can be made agency-wide to assist us in creating an Antiracist Multicultural Organization and Closing the Opportunity Gap. Caucuses can provide a valuable resource to the agency in that they allow people of color and white people to meet both separately and together to identify organizational patterns and barriers that
create barriers and contribute to disparate outcomes in the agency and in our educational system. Caucuses may choose to serve several functions, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Provides a space for self-reflection, strategies for challenging individual, group and institutional dynamics that maintain racism. (Seattle Office of Civil Rights)
  • Provides a safe space for people of color to talk about and address experiences of racism within the organization and in the larger world while learning new behaviors and thought processes to heal internalized racial oppression. (Dismantling Racism Resource Book)
  • Provides space for white people to work through guilt and other barriers that hold white people back from being an ally and doing racial justice work while learning new skills to talk about racism and white privilege (Dismantling Racism Resource Book).
  • Provides the input and perspectives of a diverse workforce to the organization. Caucuses can also help ensure that the organization’s diversity initiatives established by the Equity and Inclusion Committee cascade throughout the organization and inform both our practice in the workplace and in regional schools.

Why do caucuses meet separately? Doesn’t that go against our goal of becoming an inclusive agency?

Answer
Caucuses are designed to address institutional racism by identifying barriers and patterns that contribute to racially disparate outcomes. All people of color and white people are affected by institutional racism (both historically and currently) and must work together to end institutionalized racism. However, the ways in which we are each affected by institutional racism is very different. Therefore, caucuses are times when people of color and white people within an organization meet separately in order to do different work and to learn different skills. This separate work might include:

  • Processing thoughts and feelings about institutional racism. People of color are able to process internalized racial oppression through dialogue and support from their peers of color while white people have the chance to process feelings such as guilt or shame associated with internalized racial superiority or privilege.
  • Identifying barriers that contribute to racial disparity through their unique perspectives and experiences within the PSESD. Gain new tools to talk about and address racism.
  • Develop new skills needed to lead an anti-racism initiative.

Since the purpose is ALWAYS to work together, the people of color caucuses and the white people caucuses will meet on the
same day and at the same time so that they have the opportunity to come together at the conclusion of their individual sessions and share, collectively, information learned.

What is the history of caucusing at PSESD?  Why have we chosen to make it a priority?

Answer

The PSESD has made a commitment to becoming an Anti-racist Multicultural Organization. This means that we are committed to implementing practices and programs that create a more inclusive environment. The Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee believes that the caucusing program is yet another avenue that will help our agency reach this goal. The committee decided to pilot caucusing before implementing it across the entire agency. The pilot ran during the Fall of 2012 at the Renton office and was facilitated by two outside consultants with expertise in facilitating organizational caucuses.  Feedback from caucus participants were positive, however attendance was minimal. A short survey conducted in the Winter of 2013, indicated that more people would attend if:  1)  The caucuses were held during lunchtime, 2)  Caucuses were connected to events already taking place at the ESD, such as PSLA, and 3)  The purpose for caucusing was clearer. To respond to this feedback, the Caucus Subcommittee initiated actions steps:

  • Offered pre-caucusing and post-caucusing to agency staff interested in attending the White Privilege Conference in the Spring of 2013. Caucus facilitators believed that if caucusing was connected to an event in which many staff were attending, staff might learn how caucusing could effective.
  • Offered caucuses during lunchtime as recommended.
  • Facilitators attended the White Privilege Conference caucuses to learn how to effectively conduct caucuses.  After the conference, the facilitators participated in ongoing training and skill-development.

How do I sign up for a caucus?

Answer
You do not need to sign up for a caucus. They are drop-in.  Please check the website for information regarding rooms and times.

Do I need to get my supervisor’s permission to participate?

Answer
If you choose to participate in a caucus, you will not need your supervisor’s permission; however you are required to inform
your supervisor of your participation so that regular duties and responsibilities are covered or arrangements are made. As a PSESD employee, the tasks and responsibilities of your job are your first responsibility.  Therefore, employees are expected to manage and prioritize their workload in order to participate.

If I choose to participate will I be compensated for my time or reimbursed for mileage if I need to travel to the caucus?

Answer
Caucuses are voluntary. Employees will not be compensated for participating. Caucusing is expected to take place during work hours and therefore employees will not receive overtime, comp time, or flex time for this service.

If I choose to participate, how many caucuses should I attend?

Answer
Because caucuses are voluntary, it is up to Employees as to how frequently they wish to attend.  There is benefit to attending regulary as sessions as the agency equity work is progressive in nature.  Regular attendance allows for the opportunity to discuss the growth in outcomes and strategies.