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New Report: How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice


Leadership programs can help solve racial inequalities in access to education, healthcare, income and wealth, but many current approaches to leadership development actually maintain and promote racial inequalities. The report, How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice, suggests that a large number of leadership programs associate leadership with equal opportunity and individualism. This thinking does not recognize that current systems (i.e. policy, culture and institutional practices) can cause racial identity to limit one’s access to life opportunities. It also focuses too narrowly on changing the behavior of individual leaders. Instead, leadership programs should: 1) make their programs more accessible for people of color; 2) help participants understand how race limits the access to opportunities – in other words, the impact of structural racism; and 3) promote collective leadership. This approach will help participants work together to tackle the systems that maintain racial inequalities. 

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The publication offers practical methods and recommendations to help leadership programs prepare their participants to bring a more race conscious lens to all policy and service work; and empower people of color to better lead their communities.

The publication is co-authored by:

This report is the first in a series of publications, the Leadership for a New Era Series, launched by the Leadership Learning Community in 2009 to promote inclusive, networked and collective leadership approaches. The series is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, The California Endowment, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Kansas Leadership Center, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.