Anti-Racism and Equity

Achieving Change Together Northwest (ACT NW) is committed to improving the wellness, quality of life and safety of its employees, partners and participants.

We believe every person and their life is valuable, deserves access to resources to improve quality of life and experience inclusion and safety within ACT NW. We acknowledge systemic racism, marginalization of individuals from the LBGTQ+ community, marginalization of immigrants, refugees, and people with disabilities and inequities to resources which create disproportionate mortality rates among people of color, limit opportunities to improve quality of life and continued distrust and fear of systems in our society that uphold white supremacy culture.

ACT NW is aware of the systemic whiteness and imperialism within the institution of behavioral health. Hostility and inequities within institutions of behavioral health damage the physical, emotional and mental health of employees of color and individuals from the LGBTQ+ community, creating loss of a diverse workforce and, ultimately, underrepresentation of the communities of color and LGBTQ+ it serves. ACT NW values a diverse workforce for achieving cultural competence and for delivering culturally responsive services. ACT NW values multiple paths to wellness and recovery and values diverse perspectives, voices, experiences and practices to meeting the challenges of the organization and of the people it serves. We aspire to create an anti-racist and equitable organization so we may better support the youth and families we serve and reduce cultural barriers in the healing process.

ACT NW is committed to the following actions to maintain accountability of anti-racism and equity as an organization:

  1. ACT NW is committed to taking action in diversifying its board of directors in a way that resists tokenization and reflects the lived experience of the communities that ACT NW works alongside. ACT NW acknowledges the whiteness of its board of directors and the inherent privilege to be unaware of the impact of systemic racism and inequity on BIPOC employees and communities. Current board members are committed to increasing their knowledge and understanding of white privilege, systemic racism and are working to advocate for systemic and organizational change that centers the needs of marginalized BIPOC community members and individuals from the LGBTQ+ community.

    • Board members are asked to participate in diversity, equity and inclusion retreats and training.
    • Board members are assigned monthly reading followed by board discussions on white supremacy and systemic racism.
    • Board members make time in board meetings for reflection and discussion on the board’s accountability to dismantling racism.

  2. ACT NW is committed to being safe, inclusive and anti-racist to its employees.

    • Employees are asked to acknowledge their privilege and learn how they may utilize their privilege to advocate and fight alongside, and when necessary, for people of color and individuals from the LGBTQ+ community.
    • Employees are provided funding to attend and obtain training on cultural responsiveness, equity, and advocacy for BIPOC communities.
    • Directors and supervisors will communicate transparently and organize meetings with a shared leadership style to support the visibility, voice and perspectives of each of its employees in problem solving, program development and decision making.
    • ACT NW understands the evolving nature of becoming anti-racist and equitable, therefore employees will develop measurable goals to contributing to an inclusive and anti-racist workplace and environment. Employees will provide feedback and feedback and receive feedback and assessment from co-workers on their progress to increase accountability. Regular review and feedback will inform an action plan to address challenges to individual employees and the organization meeting goals.

  3. ACT NW is committed to creating a safe, inclusive and anti-racist experience for participants and exploring ways to reduce barriers to communities experiencing challenges accessing our services.

    • ACT NW will explore effective interpretive services to reduce language barriers and improve quality of services to participants who do not speak English as their primary spoken language.
    • Employees will receive training on providing trauma-informed care within BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.
    • Participants will be invited to provide feedback, assessment of the quality of services and experiences with staff and suggestions for changes for improvements. Program staff will regularly review feedback from participants and incorporate changes into program development.
    • ACT NW will develop a plan to gather community feedback of its services and quality of care within its next strategic planning in six months.

  4. ACT NW is committed to creating a diverse workforce.

    • Leadership and board members will actively recruit and cultivate a diverse workforce representative of the diverse teens and families we serve.


  • Culture- Culture refers to the knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.

    Culture is the knowledge shared by a group of people.

    Culture is communication, communication is culture.

    A culture is a way of life of a group of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.

    Culture is a collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.

  • Cultural racism- Cultural racism is how the dominant culture is founded upon and then shapes norms, values, ​beliefs and standards to advantage white people and oppress People of Color.

    Cultural racism is how the dominant culture defines reality to advantage white people and oppress People of Color.

    Cultural racism uses cultural differences to overtly and covertly assign value and normality to white people and whiteness in order to rationalize the unequal status and degrading treatment of ​People and Communities of Color.

  • White supremacy culture- White supremacy culture is the idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

    White supremacy culture is an artificial, historically constructed culture which expresses, justifies and binds together the United States white supremacy system. It is the glue that binds together white-controlled institutions into systems and white-controlled systems into the global white supremacy system (

  • Cultural humility - A set of congruent behaviors, attitudes and policies that come together in a system or agency or among professionals that enable that system, agency or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations (Cross, T. L., Bazron, B. J., Dennis, K. W., and Isaacs, M. R. 1989. Towards a Culturally Competent System of Care: A Monograph on Effective Services for Minority Children Who Are Severely Emotionally Disturbed: Volume I).

    Cultural competence requires that organizations: have a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, policies and structures that enable them to work effectively cross culturally; have the capacity to (1) value diversity, (2) conduct self-assessment, (3) manage the dynamics of difference, (4) acquire and institutionalize cultural knowledge and (5) adapt to diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities they serve; incorporate the above in all aspects of policy making, administration, practice, service delivery and involve systematically consumers, key stakeholders and communities. Cultural competence is a developmental process that evolves over an extended period. Both individuals and organizations are at various levels of awareness, knowledge and skills along the cultural competence continuum (National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC), Georgetown University;
  • Culturally responsive organizations – A culturally responsive organization comprehensively addresses power relationships throughout the organization, from the types of services it provides and how it maximizes language accessibility to its human resources practices – who it hires, how they are skilled, prepared and held accountable, to its cultural norms, its governance structures and policies, and its track record in addressing conflicts and dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, to its relationships with racial groups in the region, including its responsiveness to expectations. Furthermore, a culturally responsive organization is one that is dynamic, on a committed path to improvement and one that is hardwired to be responsive to the interests of communities of color, service users of color and staff of color.

  • Culturally responsive services – are services that have been adapted to maximize the respect of and relevance to the beliefs, practices, culture and linguistic needs of diverse consumer/client populations and communities. Cultural responsiveness describes the capacity to respond to the issues of diverse communities. It thus requires knowledge and capacity at different levels of intervention: systemic, organizational, professional and individual (Adapted from p. 12, Department of Health (2009). Cultural Responsiveness Framework: Guidelines for Victorian Health Services. Rural and Regional Health and Aged Care Services, Victorian Government, Melbourne. Victoria).

  • Race and ethnicity - Race is a social construct. Racial classifications are rooted in the idea of biological classification of humans according to morphological features such as skin color or facial characteristics. An individual is usually externally classified (meaning someone else makes the classification) into a racial group rather than the individual choosing where they belong as part of their identity. Ethnicity refers not to physical characteristics but to social traits that are shared by a human population. Some of the social traits often used for ethnic classification include nationality; tribe; religious faith; shared language; and shared culture and/or traditions. Unlike race, ethnicity is not usually externally assigned by others. The term ethnicity focuses more upon a group's connection to a perceived shared past and culture (Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi, Piazza (1996). The history and geography of human genes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

  • Racial equity - Racial equity is the condition that would be achieved if one's racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include root causes of inequities not just their manifestation. This includes elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them ( - racial-equity).

  • BIPOC- the term BIPOC represents the unique relationship to whiteness that Indigenous and Black (African Americans) people have, which shapes the experiences of and relationship to white supremacy for all people of color within a U.S. context (http://

  • Systemic racism- “Systemic racism”, or “institutional racism”, refers to how ideas of white superiority are captured in everyday thinking at a systems level: taking in the big picture of how society operates, rather than looking at one-on-one interactions. These systems can include laws and regulations, but also unquestioned social systems. Systemic racism can stem from education, hiring practices or access (

  • Imperialism- Imperialism is a policy or ideology of extending the rule over peoples and other countries,[2]for extending political and economic access, power and control, through employing hard power especially military force, but also soft power. The concept of cultural imperialism refers to the cultural influence of one dominant culture over others, i.e. a form of soft power, which changes the moral, cultural, and societal worldview of the subordinate country (

  • LGBTQ+- People often use LGBTQ+ to mean all of the communities included in the “LGBTTTQQIAA”:


+ Pansexual
+ Agender
+ Gender Queer
+ Bigender
+ Gender Variant
+ Pangender