Rustic's Guide to Becoming Anti-Racist
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Rustic's Guide to Becoming Anti-Racist

The events triggered by George Floyd’s death have started a national conversation about systemic racism in the United States (and around the world). There is a lot happening on our feeds right now, but one thing is clear: Black Lives Matter.

Wanting equality is not enough. We as individuals and the Rustic community must do more to support this movement. There is a lot we need to learn, both as a company and as individuals, and we are committed to educating ourselves and taking action to become better allies.

This guide was created by several members of the Rustic team – program leaders, country directors, and more. Think of this as an invitation – join us! This can be the first step in your own anti-racist education or a tool to help you leverage the power you have with friends, family, in your neighborhood, and at school. Think of it as an intro course, something to get the ball rolling. And when you’re done with our list, keep going! Many of us in the Rustic community have the privilege of getting to educate ourselves about systemic racism, rather than experience it first hand. Take advantage of the privilege and treat it as a responsibility. If you want to create change, follow the steps below. This is easy to do and it will matter.

Download This Guide

Take Independent Action:

  • Conduct a friend audit. How diverse is your friend group? Where is there lack of perspective?
  • Reflect on where you get information. Where does it come from? What perspectives are missing? What could the impact of this gap be?
  • Conduct a professional network audit. How diverse is your professional network? Where is there lack of perspective?
  • Sign petitions about causes you care about. is a good source.
  • Call your state and local representatives and tell them how you feel about issues and pending laws. Don’t like calling? Send emails!
  • Define what anti-racist looks like for yourself and DO IT. It’s not good enough to want equality and cause no harm, you need to be anti-racist.
  • Confront the Amy Coopers in your family, at school, at work, and amongst your friends.
  • Register to vote. Visit I Am a Voter to register to vote, check your registration status, and get local election reminders.
  • Support black-owned businesses. Support Black Owned and Shoppe Black are two directories to find local businesses in your area.

Get Educated:

  • Take an implicit bias test, see where you stand.
  • Watch these short videos about systemic racism from Raceforward.
  • Learn about the Groundwater approach, another resource from the Racial Equity Institute to understand systemic racism. Their resources page is a great road map to learning more.

Watch these shows:

Watch these movies and documentaries:

Watch these videos:

Listen to these podcasts:

Read these articles:

Read these books:

Have a Conversation with Friends and Family:

  • Racial inequity looks the same across systems, what are those systems?
  • Why is it important to think of these inequities as being interconnected and systemic? How is this related to the recent death of George Floyd?
  • Critics of social justice initiatives complain that too many excuses are being made for those who have done wrong. What relevance might this opening line from The Great Gatsby have in the debate over this issue: “whenever you feel like criticizing anyone… just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”?
  • What are some steps that we can take to confront these inequalities? Think in terms of groundwater approach → these are groundwater problems so they need groundwater solutions.
  • What is making this moment different for you?
  • Which statements/actions have you seen that you thought to be especially strong and effective and why? How did you assess them?
  • What do we find hard to do at this moment (making a statement or posting, implementing a personal or organizational shift, talking to family about the topic, etc)?
  • What’s your definition of success in your organizational leadership? Personal leadership?

Follow these people and organizations on your social media feeds - it’s easy:

About the Author

Chris Stakich

Chief Executive Officer

An expert on travel and service-based education, Chris leads Rustic Pathways with an eye for innovation and excellence. Since graduating from Harvard in 2001, Chris has worked in virtually all areas of our organization, from running programs in Costa Rica to managing our global team. He works diligently with our team to develop future leaders who embody a broad perspective and compassion for the world. Chris lives in San Francisco with his wife and three young sons.