Behind the Rules of the Road: Belonging
Why “Belonging” is a critical Rule of the Road and what we’ve done to prioritize diversity and inclusion
From the very beginning, we set out to create a campaign that values diversity and inclusion because we believe it will not only build a better campaign, but ultimately a better country. Pete for America is proud about and committed to creating a culture of inclusion and belonging, and we are committed to living out those values every day across the campaign.
In order to do so, we know we have to be proactive and intentional when it comes to diversity and inclusion. That’s what Pete for America has strived to do and will continue to do by:
Ensuring Pete for America reflects the diversity of the country at every level.
- In May 2019, we made a commitment that as we expand, we would build a team that is reflective of the country that Pete will serve when he is elected. Today, we’re proud that 40% of our campaign’s senior advisors identify as people of color, 46% of our senior leadership and department heads identify as people of color, 40% of our entire campaign staff identify as people of color, 52% of our staff are women, and 28% of our staff identify as LGBTQ+.
Making “Belonging” one of our Rules of the Road.
- Our rules of the road are our mission statement and the values we try to live by at PFA every day. One of those values is Belonging and it says:
- “Let us build a campaign team and a coalition of supporters that kindly embraces and reflects the increasingly diverse party and country to which we belong. We will honor this value not just in our makeup but in our practices, as we proactively work to include people of different backgrounds and viewpoints in every major decision, and cultivate a sense of welcome to all.”
Supporting the creation of safe, supportive environments where people on staff can speak freely about these issues in a trusted space.
- We have made it a priority to ensure we are having ongoing conversations about diversity and inclusion throughout the campaign, starting from our earliest days.
- We have held multiple Diversity and Inclusion trainings for staff. We held our first training for HQ staff at our staff retreat in May and a second training at our our second staff retreat in December. We have also organized D&I trainings across the early states for our staff. Since early stages of the campaign, we’ve enlisted support from external organizations who are experts in this work to facilitate the trainings, gather feedback, and ensure we are continuously improving on this issue.
- Our campaign created Bridge Groups where people who identify with certain affinity groups can come together to build community and offer ideas and recommendations to campaign leadership. We have bridge groups for people of all different backgrounds and religions. These groups are staff run and led, and also have standing access to senior leadership on the campaign. These bridge groups have made us a stronger campaign, including by leading the effort to develop and produce constituency-based merchandise for the campaign, generating ideas and feedback on Spanish language paid media, and working towards making our events more accessible to people with disabilities.
- Our staff have organized “belonging” sessions — a reference to how Pete has made ”belonging” central to his campaign message — with the support of campaign leadership in which staffers have met in what was supposed to be safe and honest spaces to talk about how they can make the campaign and Democratic politics as a whole more inclusive. The belonging sessions were modeled after a similar program that HFA staffers participated in back in 2016.
Learning from our mistakes and addressing them with intentionality.
- Part of our commitment is continually improving. When we experienced an internal communications breakdown in our vetting and decision making process this fall, we instituted a review enlisting outside help and adjusted the process to ensure diverse perspectives were included on vetting decisions, and that there were multiple opportunities to flag vetting issues.
Pete for America is committed to creating trusted environments for issues to be raised and addressed within, across and outside the campaign. We are committed to doing everything we can to support our team members and to support every person on #TeamPete. We are proud of our efforts and we are especially proud of our staff.
Living these values, being unafraid of uncomfortable conversations or admitting that we can do better, and being intentional about and creating spaces to address issues, is something we feel must do. It’s also something we feel the country as a whole must do. America’s greatness comes from our diversity, and in order to foster and strengthen our bonds, we must create a nation defined by belonging.
As we move forward, we are going to continue to run a different campaign. We are going to continue to provide safe spaces for our team to talk about these issues, and we will continue to live by our Rules of the Road of belonging, respect, responsibility, and truth.
While some see this as unusual for a campaign or fast moving organization to have these conversations or create these spaces, we hope it becomes ordinary, because we know it is necessary. It won’t always be easy, but it is worth it.