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Common Sense Ideas for Increasing Diversity in Your Organization
As a Black organizer, community, business, and organization leaders often ask: "How do I get diversity in my group?" The thing is, the work is real, but it's a minefield out there. And even progressive leaders can still, perhaps unknowingly, be racist and uphold oppressive systems.
In The Token, your new token Black friend, Crystal Byrd Farmer, acts as the bridge between majority white organizations that are dedicated to social justice and "diverse" people in community they want to recruit, across identities of race, LGBTQ, education, socioeconomic status, and disability.
With a blunt style that pulls no punches, Crystal tells you how it is, calling you out on tokenism, while extending a hand to help your organization make real transformative change toward diversity and inclusion. Coverage includes:
- What marginalized people experience and what they need to feel safe and comfortable in order to succeed
- Doing "The Work" – how to have deep conversations with your membership about the reality of bias, privilege, and microaggressions
- Practical exercises and discussion questions
- How to choose appropriate meeting locations and establish ground rules, when to bring in outside help, and how to recruit support within your organization
- Strategies on how to talk to friends who are resistant to progressive ideas.
This no-nonsense, provocative, humorous, and accessible guide is for all well-meaning people leading progressive organizations who acknowledge the need for diversity but don't know where to start.
Crystal Byrd Farmer is an engineer turned educator, organizer, and speaker who focuses on cohousing, Black, and polyamorous communities. She serves on the Editorial Review Board of Communities Magazine and is passionate about encouraging people to change their perspectives on diversity, relationships, and the world. She lives in Gastonia, NC.
"The Token is accessible and practical — ideal for everyone working in groups, schools, workplaces, and other projects and organizations where diversity and equity are the goals. Farmer has done an excellent job of laying out the case for, and path towards, building an inclusive organization. An excellent resource for all those who are committed to equity and need ideas and suggestions, exercises, and guidelines for moving your organization to the next level."
Paul Kivel, educator, activist, author, Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice
" The Token manages to be both blunt and nuanced in a way that feels helpful and honest. Crystal Byrd Farmer does an excellent job of bringing forth really clear "dos" and "don'ts" while also acknowledging and exploring the complexity and evolving nature of the work that's required to create inclusive and equitable organizations."
Tomis Parker, co-founder, Agile Learning Centers Network, board member, The Alliance for Self-Directed Education
"In an honest and unfiltered voice, Crystal Byrd Farmer's book provides essential guidance for white groups interested in racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. The book is a treasure trove of tools, stories, and resources for working on racism and white supremacy culture in majority white groups — especially those who consider themselves progressive or alternative. For us white folks, Crystal Byrd Farmer's experiences and no-nonsense perspective are much-needed gifts. Her book challenges us to listen, reflect, and work harder to overcome the racism in ourselves and in our communities."
Joe Cole, Ph.D., Academic Professional Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, facilitator
"This is the book that is going to save you from theory and guilt trips disguised as training or solutions to issues of equity and diversity. Crystal has brilliantly highlighted her personal experiences as means of examining and learning how biases affect some Black women in particular, and many intentional communities across age and gender, among other differences. She then brings in the history and pattern of anti-Black racism in particular, and offers resources and conversation prompts to work through what she brings up in these pages. I found this book refreshing in its departure from scholarly research over real-life experiences, feelings that words often fail, and so much more in terms of nuance and layers. I loved this and I'm grateful to Crystal for adding her perspectives to the conversation about relationships and diversity without apology, and with no problem being dynamic and human in her approach. Read this book!"
Akilah S. Richards, author, Raising Free People: Unschooling and Liberation and Healing Work
"If you want to transition your organization or community to become more accessible for marginalized people, you should read this book — ideally read it first! Filled with real talk and practical exercises, The Token is an essential guide for how to do The Work. Not sure what The Work is? Don't worry, your new Black friend, Crystal Farmer, is here to help."
Cynthia Tina, Co-Director, Foundation for Intentional Community
"As a co-organizer of a mostly white community focused on personal / interpersonal healing and social change, I was delighted to receive this brief gem of a book by Crystal Byrd Farmer. In her blunt, no-nonsense authorial voice, Farmer gave me exactly the information and the step-by-step plans my team needs to move forward with our community's anti-racism work. Farmer's advice on how to honor and protect a group's "tokens" is a powerful and innovative teaching that we have already put to good use. I wish this book had been available for navigating challenges in recent years."
Sarah Taub, Center for a New Culture
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