Guidelines for Effective Community Engagement

Dena Samuels Consulting:

1.       Acknowledge that social inequalities (sexism, racism, heterosexism, etc.) exist.

2.      Agree to respect others by acknowledging and honoring their lived experience.

3.    Acknowledge that we are all systematically taught misinformation about our own group and about members of other groups.

4.    Speak your truth from your own perspective. What are you struggling with?  What are you feeling?  It’s OK to acknowledge what has been the common experience for your community, even though we know no one can speak for their whole race or gender.

5.     Take responsibility for and accept the consequences of your words.

6.     Be willing to keep an open mind: it is likely that some of your beliefs will be challenged in this discussion.

7.      Take risks. Comfort is over-rated - dare to engage yourself.

8.     Lean into the discomfort of not knowing, with a goal of learning without assumptions or judgment.

9.     Agree to participate in the creation of an atmosphere that invites and encourages open discussion.

10.  Agree to raise your hand when you want to speak unless otherwise specified.

11.   Make an effort to stay present, without side conversations, throughout the discussion.

12.  Respect the foundational principle that equality pertains to all people with NO exceptions.


* A few of these guidelines are based on Lynn Weber’s: Understanding Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality: A Conceptual Framework, McGraw Hill, 2002.