Forth envisions a future where clean and equitable transportation systems move everyone and everything. Towards this, we are committed to minimizing barriers to access smart transportation. Internalizing diversity and inclusion, and embracing racial equity have been guiding principles throughout the year.
Our team has doubled almost every year since 2017 and is an increasingly diverse workforce. During this rapid growth, in order to maintain a collective understanding of Forth’s commitment to equity, we frequently come together to listen, learn, and ground ourselves in what racial equity means and how we center it in our work.
In 2021, we convened the entire team for a series of virtual trainings on racial diversity, equity and inclusion. Nathan Baptiste of EDI Mindfulness guided us through this series. His approach balanced education, practice, and mindfulness. We spent time reflecting on our personal “whys” for supporting equity-centered work and what we were passionate about addressing during the training.
Throughout our months-long training, Nathan challenged us to have open conversations about inequities present in our work. These conversations were often difficult and uncomfortable, but they highlighted opportunities to improve, which will lead to stronger outcomes for the communities we serve.
We examined racial disparities in various elements of society, levels of internal systemic racism, and the importance of building a culture of racial equity within our workplace and beyond. We displayed vulnerability and compassion with each other as we discussed our individual positions of privilege and oppression. We talked about stereotypes and ways to counter bias. And we processed our learnings to develop ways to incorporate them into our decision-making process moving forward.
One of our major takeaways was to “learn before acting.” Forth works to address barriers to transportation and to design solutions which center communities of color. When racial inequities are identified in our work, our first instinct is often to jump into action.
While action is an important and necessary step, listening and learning must come first.
A Holistic View
Throughout the series, we regularly paused for “moments of mindfulness” –these were welcome reminders that racial equity work involves the whole self - both mind and body.
The experience we had throughout this series brought us closer as a team and reminded us that learning and listening is core to carrying out our commitment to racial equity. We believe that the electrification of transportation is key to ensuring a healthier planet for all people and this change begins with designing solutions which benefit our frontline communities.
We must never stop learning as individuals and organizations, if we wish to authentically and effectively drive a lasting change.