Thoughts on…The Collective in Crisis with Purpose Equity Team

April 24, 2020


Purpose’s Equity Team is a volunteer group of cross-functional Purpose team members that are committed to…” the company’s goals of advancing work, identifying new needs, discussing ideas, and sharing experiences relating to race and racial intersectionality. We are dedicated to shepherding and amplifying Purpose’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We do this work alongside senior leadership and in service of bettering our individuals, our organization, and our impact in the world via clients, funders, partnerships, and content.

Each month, we hope to use this space to share our ever-expanding insights, reflections, and points-of-view with the Purpose community.

We’re Thinking About…

The collective.

The world is feeling smaller these days. In the thick of the coronavirus pandemic, civilization is suddenly a “we,” pondering similar challenges and striving for similar goals. But, as good as it feels to stand together —  is there truly such a thing as shared experience?

When faced with the need for collective action against the virus and the inequities it exacerbates, it can be tempting to lean on the stance of “we”. But doing so too broadly can water down an experience that is playing out differently in every community and household. It can erase the voices that were marginalized to begin with and whose lack of access now — to healthcare, to digital devices, to safety at home, to platforms to be heard — is pushing them even further out of the frame.

As mass mobilizers, we’ll never be able to tell every story in one go. But we can show up responsibly. We can make clear whose perspective we’re uplifting in a given moment, and why it matters. We can acknowledge that it is only one lens of many. We can humbly and fearlessly ask for help uncovering the outlooks we lack, elevating more perspectives and allowing new outreach opportunities to bloom. We can see beyond the seductive simplicity of “we.” Contributed by Catherine Addo


We’re inspired by…

Headshot of man with glasses

The COVID Racial Data Tracker.

In response to limited virus testing and data in the States, the COVID Tracking Project and American University’s Antiracist Research & Policy Center have announced plans for a COVID Racial Data Tracker to create “an accurate record of what actually happened” when the virus hit different American communities. —Contributed by Elena Scott


We’re reading…

Black and white photo of woman holding two babies

The ‘Pandemic of Inequality’.

In this article, two black American  doctors (who happen to be twin sisters) discuss their observations in the field, from the high volume of black and brown patients with symptoms, to which patients they were told to test, to the trust barrier between the medical community and some racial minorities. —Contributed by Emma Pulido

drawing of people on a zoom call

Zooming While Black.

This piece is one black American woman’s account of feeling uncomfortable letting colleagues of different races see her in casual, “cultural attire” while teleconferencing. The anecdote is a thought-provoking look at “cultural authenticity, professional image, workplace code-switching, and white privilege.” —Contributed by Becca Antonucci

Trevor Project logoCOVID-19 x LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health and Suicide.

The Trevor Project, a leader in crisis intervention and suicide prevention among American LGBTQ+ youth, has published a breakdown of how the coronavirus pandemic specifically impacts queer youth, from negative social experiences, to housing instability, and more. —Contributed by Alexander Malave


We’re listening to…

Adweek’s ‘D&I TBD’ Podcast.

Adweek has launched a new podcast about diversity, inclusion, equality, and equity in the workplace. The program is a biweekly “audio magazine” that blends storytelling and practical advice. Its first episode features Purpose racial equity training partner Glenn Singleton, the founder of Pacific Educational Group and Courageous Conversation. —Contributed by Kevin Mernin


We’re watching…

Post Traumatic slave syndrome caption woman dr joy degruy

Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome.

In this talk, Dr. Joy DeGruy unpacks her book, Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome. The book names the psychological effects that enslavement and racist violence have had on black and white people alike, and how the symptoms are mischaracterized. —Contributed by Shannon Gordon


Quote for Thought

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work.  There is no time for despair, no time for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.  — Toni Morrison