Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging at CommonBond
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
Origin and Why this Work is Important to our Organization
In 1971, social justice and racial reckonings sparked the beginning of CommonBond and is interwoven into our mission. CommonBond was formed out of the realization that racial and economic injustices were growing across the United States. Faith communities rose and saw the avenue of affordable housing as a way to combat these disparities.
Housing is both intimate and societal. Home is comfort, stability, and security. Home is our foundation—the place we can jump off from and achieve our goals in life. Housing is also a part of major multigenerational injustices in our society. Owning property is a primary way that people build wealth, and due to redlining and other state-sanctioned policies, far less advantage has been given to people of color to achieve success. As an organization that prides ourselves in creating equitable housing that is affordable for all, it is vital that we come to our work through this lens of history and the injustices that continue today.
Definition of DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging)
Diversity: We define diversity broadly to include all the characteristics and identities which make each person unique. This includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, age, physical ability, marital status, religious affiliation, and economic background. We recognize that certain attributes are systemically favored in our society and that others are used as rationale to disadvantage certain individuals and groups.
Inclusion: We are actively working to bring individuals together in work and community who might not otherwise share common space. We seek to create a welcoming environment and a platform for meaningful engagement that is sensitive to power dynamics and that attempts to identify and overcome unconscious bias with intentional action.
Equity: Equity is achieved when race, ethnicity, sex, gender, age, physical ability, and other attributes are no longer predictors of social and economic welfare and outcomes.
Belonging: Belonging in the workplace is an employee’s sense that their uniqueness is accepted and even treasured by their organization and colleagues. Belonging is an accumulation of day-to-day experiences that enables a person to feel safe and bring their full, unique self to work.
Five Areas of Work
Working with Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) members, CommonBond has committed to SAHF's Racial Equity Pledge and our Equity Vision Statement, formed in January 2020. We believe that no one is born racist or antiracist; these result from the choices we make. Being antiracist results from a conscious decision to make frequent, consistent, and equitable choices daily. These choices require ongoing self-awareness and self-reflection as we move through life. At CommonBond, these areas of work reflect this ongoing effort towards antiracism that is a lifelong endeavor:
Governance: Board to ensure that strategy, goals, and assessments include equity and that they understand and reflect the lived experience of those we serve.
Organization: Companywide framework ever evolving to ensure that all aspects of our business are involved and that DEIB considerations are placed alongside others in decision-making and evaluation.
Staff/Team: Support for individuals on our team to become aware, grow, and enhance their sense of belonging in a diverse team at all levels of the organization.
Residents: Work with residents to raise their awareness, build skills for life in diverse communities, and drive for equitable outcomes among residents across difference.
Influence: Influence other actors to reflect equity in their work (even before we have it “right”), learning alongside peers.
At CommonBond, there are many pieces of the puzzle that must come together to make this work happen. From our Executive and Senior Leadership Team, Employees, Board, and residents to our supporters, donors, and volunteers—we can all affect change both big and small as we continue to cultivate DEIB culture and practices into every aspect of our work. Thank you for your support as we continue to strive for equity and inclusion in service to residents who call CommonBond home.