By Sydney Etheredge, ACT for Alexandria Board Member and Racial Equity Committee Chair
The end of the year allows us to look back at the last twelve months and reflect on what we have accomplished and where we want to go in the year ahead. When looking back at what ACT has done in 2021, there is nothing I’m more proud of than us publicly affirming our commitment to racial equity. But, while this commitment was an important declaration made in 2021, the real work for us lies ahead in 2022 and beyond.
Like many nonprofits, the new year’s work begins months before with the budgeting process, and ACT is no different. But this year, ACT was committed to a new approach to the process by implementing a racial equity budget tool. The purpose of this tool was to assess the equity and social impacts of budget requests to ensure projects, programs, and other investments advance racial equity. In addition, this tool also helped the ACT team recognize programs and budget line items that continue the status quo and need to be discussed and evaluated. This exercise helped the ACT staff and board engage in conversations about the work proposed in 2022 and reflect on what more we can be doing to turn our racial equity statement into a true commitment.
As the city of Alexandria looks to a future beyond the pandemic, this is an opportunity for all of us to embed an equity lens throughout our work. As a community trust, ACT sees itself as an essential partner in this process. Throughout our 2022 programming, we will strive to be as intentional as possible about centering the needs of those impacted by systemic and institutional racism. Building an equitable Alexandria is our north star, and this budget process has been the first step for ACT in that direction.
In the months ahead, we will use this space to track how this process is progressing and evolving here at ACT. So, please keep reading, reaching out, and engaging in the new year because working toward a more equitable Alexandria is a resolution we can all get behind!