How We Spend Money is a Reflection of Our Values

This year, MCN proposed various focus areas for 2018 around its inclusion and equity work. One of these areas is around how MCN spends money on food. Almost everyone on staff purchases food at some point, so it serves as a great starting point to have this conversation about how we spend money as a means to intentionally end disparities and inequalities in power, money, access, and resources.

Sometimes you intend to have a quick and easy conversation about food and how that relates to inclusion and equity - only to be reminded again that nothing is ever so simple.

When it comes to inclusion and equity, of course we’re not just talking about food. We’re talking about values, money, and commitment. When we were asked to internally reflect on ourselves and our organization (versus being critical of external systems or structures), we found ourselves facing an entirely different discussion resulting in tough but vital internal conversations.

These challenging conversations and moments have only deepened MCNs commitment to moving forward with actual policies and practices to bring an equity lens to our organization and our work to create meaningful change. We’ve reflected on one of the tensions that exists in equity work: the need for thoughtful, patient work coupled with the need for urgent action. We’ve reflected on how important it is to try something and not get it right (and learn from it) than not try at all. Our shared commitment to hold brave spaces and lean into the hard conversations was inspiring. It sets us up to continue our work of inclusion and equity – an ongoing process, with humility, grace, urgency and patience.

With regards to this specific and narrow project around food, we hoped to find or develop a vendor list that made it easy to make made decisions around how and where we spend money that aligns with our priorities. You can find this list on our website. It is a community generated list that is continuously updated by many community members in the Twin Cities for use by everyone. We share this list here and on our website because we know we are not alone in the discussions on how we spend money reflects our values.

In addition to this list having more than 100 restaurants, the list includes services from graphic designers, bike shops, book shops, therapists, performers, DJs and other professional services that organizations and individuals can utilize, all owned by people of color, indigenous people, transgender people and/or women.

We will continue to share our journey, coming to the table grounded in authentic, vulnerable, and transparent dialogue. We know we have a lot of learning and growth to do. We are excited to be part of all the amazing work going on to strengthen our beautiful and thriving community.

 
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