Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Statement
We acknowledge our position in perpetuating oppression and marginalization, and are committed to the work of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) in the work we’ve done so far, and the goals we have.
On this page:
Our historical position
We recognize that:
- the land intentional communities occupy is stolen from indigenous people and purchased through a system based on racist public and private property laws. (See: A Very Brief History of Housing Policy and Racial Discrimination)
- people from marginalized backgrounds regularly find themselves in the extreme minority in intentional communities and are harmed by the experience
- the FIC has played a central role in perpetuating white supremacy, oppression and marginalization in the intentional communities movement
- the movement is predominantly white and middle class and there is also more diversity in the movement than we have recognized historically. There are reasons for both that need to be acknowledged and remedied.
At the Foundation for Intentional Community, we work for a ‘just, resilient and cooperative world (see our vision). We’re committed to making diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ)part of the culture and the strength of our organization.
We work to acknowledge the impact of systems of oppression in our products and programs, and recognize the disadvantages that marginalized people traditionally face. So, we work to create greater access and opportunity for marginalized people, and amplify their voices.
We believe that a more just and equitable society will benefit everyone – communitarians, organizations, intentional communities and the world. We are committed to doing the work together, with our colleagues, our community, partners and across the intentional communities movement.
Sometimes community is about survival. Other times, intentional communities can be idealistic. If they’re based on a radical analysis of social problems and an attempt to address them, those living in them often have a personal desire to live in a way that feels more satisfying, as well as a desire for a better society for all people. Most of these kinds of communities value (at least in theory) diversity, equality, and sustainability, and want to help create a world where everyone belongs.
We live in a world fraught with injustice and inequality. In the US in particular, we live with a legacy of slavery and genocide, and the effects of racialized, gendered, and classist society. Core issues that some intentional communities are addressing, when trying to fulfil their potential as models for a better way of living.
We recognize that white people are more likely to have access to the resources to buy land, build buildings, and start businesses. Unfortunately, when they do, they can unintentionally create communities with cultures that are outright hostile to people who are not like them. While they face less discrimination and hostility when broadcasting their presence. They network with other communities like them and support the development of their leaders, which then attract the same people. It’s a self-reinforcing dynamic.
Intentional communities have a unique opportunity to address oppression and privilege. Many communities are wrestling with these issues to be a model for a better way of living. Acknowledging the examples of opposition or outright violence that marginalized people trying to organize intentional communities face. And doing the work of tough questioning, courageous conversations and design of accessible and inclusive spaces.
We believe that those of us who benefit from this system have a responsibility to work to change it.
What we’ve done so far
- supported the creation of a BIPOC Intentional Community Council who seek to inspire, support, and assist BIPOC and other oppressed or disenfranchised groups to create intentional communities. FIC donates 10% of all unrestricted donations to the Council
- distributed The Token by Crystal Byrd Farmer, as a guide to people leading progressive organizations, who acknowledge the need for diversity but don’t know where to start
- staff and board members participated in 2-month DEI training led by Courage of Care program
- engaged the board and co-directors in reviewing learnings from the training, and developed an internal system of accountability
- created a bi-weekly meeting for staff and board to discuss and address issues pertaining to justice, equity, and diversity within the organization
- had in-depth discussions with staff to understand their needs and barriers when bringing their full selves to work
- designed a process for our FIC conflict and reparative justice system.
- build an organization of people with a range of backgrounds and experiences
- prioritize DEIJ and inclusive design in our products and programs
- support more diverse community, with programming that is specifically aimed at marginalized communities
- continuous improvement to develop skills to create a welcoming and inclusive environment
- encourage our colleagues and partners to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations about privilege, bias and microaggressions when necessary
- educate and empower our presenters and partners on how to create space for DEIJ in their programs
- uplift the voices of marginalized people in our work
- be recognized as an anti-racist organization that prioritizes social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion by our members and peers
- support LANDBACK and other reparative initiatives
- meet WCAG accessibility standards on our website and digital channels to meet the needs of all of our users.