Keeping PEP’s DEIB Work Alive

Keeping PEP’s DEIB Work Alive 


“Give light and people will find the way.”
~Ella Baker

Recognizing Black History Month

As we recognize Black History Month at PEP, we celebrate the ingenuity, courageousness, and perseverance of Black people whose stories are too often unknown but whose impact is significant through their exemplary lives and contributions to society. The resilience of figures like Claudette Colvin, Bayard Rustin, bell hooks, Gordon Parks, Ella Baker, and so many others shows up across American culture, inspiring us to keep pressing toward the ideals we espouse as being central to American life.

One way we honor these freedom fighters, activists, and innovators at PEP is by keeping the work of racial equity and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (RE-DEIB) alive in service to our mission. PEP’s Equity Champions Council has been focused this year on identifying ways to get all staff engaged in this work so that we deepen our collective knowledge and positive, collective impact on the youth and families we serve.

Equity Champions Council

According to the Equity Champions Council Charter, this group of staff’s purpose is to serve as the primary leadership team, including both formal and informal leaders, responsible for designing, coordinating, and organizing equity plans and activities across an institution that is committed to equitable systems change. The champions serve as the engine for change, leading the way, pulling others along, chugging through sometimes challenging terrain, keeping things on track, moving a diverse community of people in a common direction, and building the movement and momentum to arrive at the destination of equitable outcomes.

This year, we have been leaning into this responsibility by beginning the work to ensure that we are an organization that advances our vision of an equitable community where every young person is valued and experiences joy and deep fulfillment.

Growing our shared understanding of the historic and present-day challenges that are created and sustained by structural racism is one of the foundational priorities that the Equity Champions Council has identified. We believe that every PEP staff person must be equipped to deepen our understanding of the realities impacting Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC). To support this need, we have been sharing “Read, Watch, Listen, Engage” content in our staff newsletter since May 2023. We are also planning for agency-wide training events that will provide PEP staff and leaders the opportunity to learn together and gain a shared understanding of anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices that can be used to dismantle racism.

Exploring Anti-Racist Work

Additionally, we are exploring how we can further operationalize anti-racist and anti-oppressive work at PEP. As described on the website of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, “being anti-racist is to create an equal society by [committing ourselves to] making unbiased choices and being antiracist in all aspects of our lives.” The Equity Champions Council is thinking through and seeking to learn more about how we as individuals can use our personal power to make choices that advance equity. We look forward to sharing what we learn in the months ahead.

Each member of PEP’s Equity Champions Council is determined to see PEP achieve its mission and vision by providing leadership and light in service to equity. We also recognize that we stand on the shoulders of history’s giants and are committed to nurturing this work and our impact at PEP.