House Meetings for Equity
- An opportunity for community coalitions, individual change agents, organizations, faith-based groups, networks, friends & neighbors to build relationships and take concrete and specific action to advance equity in their community.
- An opportunity for leaders to connect with those most affected by inequity. For example:
- To connect to local residents and people with lived experience of inequity
- To create & sustain community around issues of inequity
- At any gathering place: Homes, schools, gymnasiums, rooms at places of worship, community centers, workplaces, senior centers, parks, libraries
- Ideally conducted in person (can be a virtual gathering with web cameras on Zoom, WebEx, Google Hangouts, etc.)
Failing Forward Moments
In a workspace:
- Be intentional about the space you choose to hold a House Meeting.
- If hosting a virtual meeting, test out the technology and be mindful of engaging those who are joined by web if there is a mix of those in person and those who connect virtually.
- Be thoughtful of the identities you bring into the House Meetings: if you share your own experience, give yourself time to prepare what you want to share.
- If Origin Stories are included as a team building exercise, assign pre-work to allow participants to prepare for the meeting.
- Anyone can share their story no matter where they are in their equity journey, just make sure to have an open mind and open heart through the process of holding a house equity meeting
- Be open to adapt to the energy and flow of the room.
As a class assignment:
- Learners should be coached to not act as the "experts" at the table and may need practice with listening and facilitating rather than teaching (a partner in the process) - can use Habits of the Heart to help with this (this is an opportunity for co-learning & listening)
- Better to do the house meetings in groups of 2-3 so people don't worry about doing them alone & should have a practice session prior to hosting the meetings so they feel more comfortable
- Be prepared with follow-up actions for folks - what to do next if they are interested
- Make the concept of equity your own (tie it to yourself and your audience) & adapt the template to your audience so it is useful to them
With a refugee-based organization:
- In the actual meetings, keep the conversations really organic
- Extend another meeting you were already having to encourage participation (rather than a separate meeting to talk about these issues)
- Talking about race and racism may be new for these communities; not everyone had the same experiences with inequities/injustice though they may not have known to call it that (perhaps a language issue)
- Some people may express fear about stepping up to take a leadership role on this because they are afraid to lose benefits if they become more "visible"; some folks had relatives with expired visas so they were afraid to expose themselves; the leaders of these conversations need to know how to tell them that they would be safe (lacked information to prove this);
- Leaders of these conversations need to be clear as to the end point of these conversations & what to tell people to do next
Type of Tool
Tool or toolkit
Family and social support
Housing and homelessness
System change: Public health transformation
System change: Health care transformation
System change: Faith community transformation
System change: Community transformation
System change: Policy transformation
System change: Cultural transformation
People (community residents, community members with lived experience)
Health care (payers, service providers, device/pharma, IT/infrastructure)
Law, justice and public safety (legal, judicial, criminal justice)
Interpersonal (between people)
Older adults 65+
Frontier (<5000 people)