Fit Oshkosh was selected as a Promising Practice of the 2018 Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award competition, the organization Everyday Democracy announced in a press release Thursday.
For more than 25 years, Everyday Democracy has worked with communities across the country to foster a healthy and vibrant democracy – characterized by strong relationships across divides, leadership development, including the voices of all people, and understanding and addressing structural racism, according to the release.
Promising practice designations are assigned to effective, innovative practices that are grounded in principles of inclusion (voice for all), racial equity, and democratic dialogue aimed at individual, institutional and community change. Replicability in other communities is also a consideration for Promising Practices.
“Fit Oshkosh met all these criteria,” said Martha McCoy, Executive Director for Everyday Democracy, in a statement. “We were struck by the powerful and creative ways in which white people are being invited to go deeper in their understanding of racism, and ways in which the work of Fit Oshkosh is changing the culture of the community. And a more welcoming culture is only the beginning – the conversations are also leading to positive changes in community institutions.”
Fit Oshkosh’s accomplishment is providing Racial Literacy conversations and programming to more than 3,800 community members in the last three years. They also foster strategic collaborations that result in sustainable social change by helping those who are engaged explore racialized meaning and impact at both the structural and individual community levels.
Through its Color-Brave Community Conversations, Reads Program and Traveling Photo Exhibit, Fit provides a platform to engage in authentic conversations that help to dismantle racism.
Using various forms of media including books, movies, clips and photographs, Fit’s facilitated programs are designed to move the community from “Colorblind”, an “I don’t see race” attitude” to “Color Brave”, the recognition of race, its complexities embedded in all of our systems, and all of the challenges that People of Color face as a result.
For the past three years, Fit Oshkosh has organized an annual basketball game with the Oshkosh Police Department and youth in the community. The goal of the game is to create a space for conversation amongst the youth and the police to reduce the likelihood of a racialized shooting by police. The next game is scheduled for Saturday, March 2.
Their approach of inviting people into the conversation rather than pushing them out has increased the youth and officers’ ability to stay engaged and all look forward to the basketball game each year.
Fit also designs and teaches highly interactive and customized Racial Literacy workshops. The goal of these programs is to open the door for new understanding, growth and productivity for employees of nonprofits, local governments, faith communities, and corporations in the United States and Canada.
Fit Oshkosh founder and Executive Director Tracey Robertson is a contributor to FoxValley365.