Big Cartel Begins an Equity Audit

If you follow along with our commitments to Anti-Racism, you may remember that Big Cartel selected The McKensie Mack Group (MMG) to help us with an internal equity audit. Now that this important work is underway, we wanted to share more information about MMG and the work they’ll be doing with the Big Cartel team.

The Racial Equity and Belonging Audit

We’re currently working with MMG on a Racial Equity and Belonging Audit (REBA). Their REBA process helps organizations identify where they fall on the continuum of equity, belonging, and anti-oppression. To start, the MMG team will research Big Cartel’s history, and examine our mission and values.

Part of the audit is one on one interviews between MMG racial justice consultants and Big Cartel employees. Personally, as a member of the Big Cartel team, I’m anxious but excited to have the time to understand my place within our organization: to think about moments when I could have done more to be open and inclusive, and to think critically along with my coworkers about how Big Cartel can seek to understand the needs of our community, customers, and current and future employees better. In addition to holding anti-racism and anti-oppression as guiding principles, MMG is also anti-perfectionism, which struck a chord with several of us here at Big Cartel. While of course, many of us would love to never make mistakes, we’re glad to be partnering up with an organization that understands that we can’t be perfect in this work, and that makes room for imperfection and improvement.

After the research and interviews, MMG will come up with a strategic organizational plan for Big Cartel. The goal is for Big Cartel to know what challenges lie ahead as we build equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist practices into our company culture.

Who is McKensie Mack?

McKensie Mack is an anti-oppression consultant, researcher, and facilitator from the Southside of Chicago. McKensie is Black, queer, and nonbinary and strives to create processes and approaches to organizational change that are intersectional in every aspect. We can’t cover their whole career here, but their work with Wikipedia is a good look at their focus on equity and representation.

As the inaugural Executive Director of Art+Feminism in 2014, McKensie worked with thousands of editors, librarians, activists, and organizers around the world to create and improve articles on Wikipedia through a lens of social equity. This project is a real example of how disrupting stereotypical and harmful narratives about women, LGBTQIA+ folks, and people of color really matters: Wikipedia is one of the world’s most visited sites, but in 2011 less than 10% of its contributors were women. If cis and trans women, nonbinary people, people of color, and Indigenous communities are not included as we shape our records, our version of history is incomplete. By organizing edit-a-thons, Art+Feminism works to improve representation on Wikipedia and encourages those who have been commonly excluded from the history books to become Wikipedia editors.

Black-led and nonbinary-led MMG is a global social justice organization and change management firm that actually changes structures. They help working communities transform culture, practices, and policies that reinvent the workplace and create equitable, intentional, and transformative spaces for all. MMG offers consulting, training, audits, and online courses (for example, if you’ve ever struggled with setting boundaries at work you can find support with this offering here).

What comes next?

The research and interviews mentioned above will take place over the next few months, so there won’t be much to report right away. But we plan to be transparent about this process and communicate publicly about ways that we need to improve as a company, as colleagues, and as a community. With MMG’s guidance and support, we feel ready to make plans for long-term, sustainable change. We’ll keep updating you with the lessons that we learn, and the steps that we take in this process.

Sarah Anderson

Marketing at Big Cartel. Loud talker, maker at City of Industry. Semi-professional aunt. Pretty psyched about all of it.

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