Wayne State University

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About the cohorts

Photo of Detroit Equity Action Lab classThe Detroit Equity Action Lab will convene annual cohorts of leaders from 20 organizations working on the many dimensions of racial equity: arts and media, community development, education, environment, food security, health care and housing. Participants will meet monthly for skills building workshops led by local and national experts. In addition, participants will initiate group projects to integrate the skills they learn to address racial disparities in metro Detroit.

The equity lab seeks diverse community leaders from all of Detroit’s ethnic and racial groups, genders, sexual orientations, ages and backgrounds. The lab seeks applications from organizations working in a wide variety of sectors and various levels of budgets and experience. Diversity of expertise and perspectives within each cohort is critical to our success.

Goals of the Detroit Equity Action Lab

  • Help strengthen a cohesive and diverse network of local leaders acting to increase racial equity
  • Increase the effectiveness of local organizations to address racial equity and catalyze change
  • Uncover the structural racism impacting policy issues
  • Translate equity lab lessons into action steps, policy recommendations and improved public awareness

Benefits to cohort members

  • Photo of Detroit Equity Action Lab eventParticipate in high-quality skills building with other Detroit area racial equity leaders
  • Be part of a cohesive network dedicated to addressing structural racism
  • Gain a better understanding of the historical context affecting Detroit's racial inequity
  • Develop the skills needed to affect meaningful change, including influencing the community agenda and public policy on racial equity
  • Engage in active learning through experimentation to learn new techniques to address structural racism
  • Propose topics for community action research
  • Collaborate on change-oriented projects with other cohort members
  • Create action plans for public outreach efforts
  • Define a vision for moving Detroit toward greater racial equity

​Participant commitments

  • Photo of Detroit Equity Action Lab meetingAttend mandatory orientation session and monthly cohort sessions over the course of the year
  • Assist in collaboratively planning cohort sessions
  • Contribute to an environment of collaboration and honest dialogue, which allows participants to reach safely outside their normal comfort zones to explore deeper understandings
  • Be willing to experiment with new skills and collaborate with other cohort members on new racial equity projects
  • Integrate the knowledge gained into their organization's work and serve as a change agent within their organization and the broader community
  • Provide a short letter from their organization's executive director (if other than the applicant) that demonstrates the organization's understanding and support of the applicant's involvement in the Detroit Equity Action Lab and its interest in exposing other organizational members to the information that is learned
  • Possess a willingness to continue involvement in equity lab activities beyond the first year and to continue to build relationships with future cohort members

There are other ways to be involved in the Detroit Equity Action Lab community, including opportunities to attend lectures by national racial equity experts. Sign up to receive updates about the equity lab.

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