At MetroLab, we have been reflecting on the contribution we can make toward reaching a more racially just society. As an organization and a network, we will be following a set of principles that help uplift the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and support BIPOC work and scholarship.
- We must do the work. MetroLab Network is a young and small organization. As we shape and solidify our recruitment and hiring practices, we commit to taking a critical lens to these processes. We value a broad set of experiences and actively seek staff members and board members who are willing to listen and share, who are interested in whether we serve those who are not at the table as much as we serve those who are. We commit to crafting job descriptions and scopes of work that reflect the work that needs to be done, to designing recruitment and hiring processes that invite candidates to bring their whole selves, to compensating labor at its true value, and to critically and frequently re-examining these practices.
- We must use our voice. MetroLab’s biggest asset is its network, serving as a platform through which we can both share information and also cultivate norms. We commit to using racial justice frames in our network and network support activities through programming focused on racial justice, intentionally lifting the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indiginous, and People of Color) scholars and public servants, and cultivating a network culture that acknowledges and upholds that Black Lives Matter. In addition, we recognize that civic-university partnerships ultimately serve the local community, and we commit to lifting up and supporting our members who rise as institutional leaders during times of racial injustice, in their capacities as researchers, employers, and residents.
- We must step up, and we must step back. MetroLab is a leader in the civic research domain. We commit to keeping equity and racial justice issues at the fore as part of our larger institutional partnerships, inclusive of how we invest in local communities as part of in-person events. As leaders, it is incumbent upon us to understand when others are more prepared, equipped, and ready to lead. We commit to identifying partners with expertise of all kinds and to supporting our partners’ projects that reflect on-the-ground priorities in cities and communities.
- We must actively cultivate and uplift BIPOC civic research leaders. MetroLab is dedicated to cultivating civic research leaders of all kinds, but we recognize the multiple systemic barriers inherent to our civic and academic institutions in cultivating and promoting BIPOC civic researchers and their work. We commit to critically approaching long-held racially-biased beliefs and processes inherent to these institutions and to actively participating in the reimagination and rebuilding of these institutions or their alternatives such that barriers to BIPOC civic researchers are removed.
We recognize that we are a work in progress. MetroLab Network’s work as accomplices is never complete, and as such, we welcome a dialogue about these principles, our work, and our practices as we move forward in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives.