“Nothing About Us Without Us” … including the use of this slogan

In the span of a few weeks in two unrelated settings, I heard it: “Nothing about us without us.” The first time was in a meeting about peer-assisted recovery for survivors of substance use disorder. The second time was in a community forum about empowerment training for marginalized Black youth. The separate speakers who said these words imbued them with the same meaning: they were an incantation of self-determination. The speakers didn’t attribute them to any person or source, but they clearly made an impression on the audiences.

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The second most important thing to list on your job postings

Lately, I’m heartened by my nonprofit colleagues, both locally and nationally, who advocate for listing salary ranges on job postings. I have friends in the sector who draw the line at sharing job descriptions without this information because they perpetuate gender and racial pay inequity

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2020 Board Applications

The application to join the YNPN Twin Cities Board of Directors is OFFICIALLY OPEN! Joining the leadership team for YNPN-TC is a great way to practice new professional skills, build incredible relationships, and support your fellow young nonprofit professionals in the sector. 
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Young folks rising

With the Climate Strike that happened - September 20 - the world saw the rise of many amazing young leaders. Most notably is youth activist Greta Thunberg, who recently sailed from Europe to the United States in order to protest climate change at the White House while avoiding the high-carbon impact of flying. In the Twin Cities we have Juwaria Jama, Isra Hirsi and Priya Dalal - young women still in high school, organizing the MN youth climate strike

It amazes me that despite being a climate activist in my young twenties, I find myself looking to people younger than me for strength and inspiration in the movement. We may be on the verge of auspicious, large-scale change. 

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Your equity statement is not enough

Unless you are my grandma, I am probably not going to listen to your voicemail. Voicemails are clunky and awkward- I find it easier to just follow up. But recently, I listened to a voicemail I want to share with you all:

“We understand that this pre-employment assessment does not account for nonbinary individuals, such as yourself, and apologize that you will be misgendered throughout the timed exam. We have called the creators of the assessment and raised our concerns. They have assured us that they will continue to work on this problem. You have the option to forego the assessment if you wish. Please give me a call back to discuss how you would like to proceed.”

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Mind the gap

Take a look at the image below. 

What did you see? Where did your eyes go first? Chances are you saw an incomplete circle and your eyes first went to the gap in the circle. More importantly, I'm sure you had an urge to complete the circle. 

It’s not by accident that we tend to hone in on what’s missing or what’s wrong with something. From a young age, we have been conditioned to overlook what is right and instead spend an inordinate time fixing our shortcomings.

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You (yes, you!) need to learn how to read financial statements

I sat at my desk, door closed, pencil sharpened, a thick ream of financial statements stacked in front of my computer monitor. 

I turned over the cover of the first packet and the tiny lines of the spreadsheet printout wriggled tauntingly at me. I sighed, placed my pencil under the first line, and typed: “what is a balance sheet” into Google. 

How did I get here?

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Everyone can be powerful: 3 ways to practice power in your work

How effective do you feel in your ability to challenge the power structure? Where do you start? How confident do you feel in characterizing it? 

We in the nonprofit sector are some of the most familiar with the consequences stemming from society’s balance of power. We hear the stories of communities most affected, we see the downstream effects of decisions made from remote places. If we are to advance social, racial and economic justice, we need to understand, recognize, and wield the power we have more effectively in our work.

P.S. I don’t have all the answers. But I believe in the premise that everyone can be powerful.

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Dismantling White Supremacy in Nonprofits: a starting point

I have a confession to make; I no longer work in the nonprofit sector in Minnesota, nor do I live in the state. I recently made the big decision to pursue graduate school in order to further my own passions and learning. While I am enjoying this new and challenging journey, I still find myself deeply connected to the nonprofit sector, a place where I spent the majority of my 20’s working, learning, and growing.

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DE&I: Where do I even start...and end?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is big and complex. There are myriad of assessments, trainings, and articles about it--and I encourage everyone to explore the resources out there. However, it can feel impossible to know where to start. Unfortunately, there’s no panacea. It takes a lot of hard work and interrogation of an organization’s history, present situation, and the individuals within it to start making change.

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