Course Description

"People of color need their own spaces. Black people need their own spaces. We need places in which we can gather and be free from the mainstream stereotypes and marginalization that permeate every other societal space we occupy. We need spaces where we can be our authentic selves without white people’s judgment and insecurity muzzling that expression. We need spaces where we can simply be—where we can get off the treadmill of making white people comfortable and finally realize just how tired we are....”


What is an Affinity Group?

An affinity group is defined in Merriam-Webster as “a group of people having a common interest or goal or acting together for a specific purpose.” Affinity groups are used to create healthy and secure spaces for people of a particular identity who may not feel safe in the broader community because they are in the numerical minority. This identity can be based on race, gender, sexual orientation, language, nationality, physical/mental ability, socio-economic class, family structure, religion, etc. Affinity groups can be a place for underrepresented people in a community to come together to feel less isolated and more connected. During affinity groups, participants might share and talk about their experiences or focus on working towards a particular mission or goal. Affinity groups facilitate spaces to build resilience, help members prepare to engage deeply with other groups, and or empower each other to take action.

  • Short-term goals: To make space for individuals to openly vent and express themselves without prioritizing the feelings of others. To show up authentically at work without fear of judgment.
  • Long-term goals: To sponsor programming and initiatives that promote: business and career development; informal mentoring; diverse recruitment and retention; increased political representation; and networking opportunities.

What the Affinity Group will not be:

A party planning or engagement group.
A committee, commission, or board.
An opportunity to discriminate against your collogues.
Space for employees to educate themselves on an identity they do not share.
A highly structured space where employees need to feel on-guard while telling their stories.
 

Why are we supporting Affinity Groups?

For years, the City has collected data that points to the same conclusion: life in Madison and life working for the City of Madison is dramatically different for our employees of marginalized communities compared to their cis white peers.
 

Can I participate if I don't identify with a particular group?

Legally, we cannot deny you from participating; but by doing so, you will be disrespecting your colleges and silencing their voices. 
 

How can I help if I identify as an ally?

 Volunteer for Racial Equity & Social Justice Initiative.
 Join Multicultural Affairs Committee.
 Join Women's Initiatives Committee.
 Hold yourself, your employer, and others accountable
 Volunteer within the community.
 Donate to groups within our community already doing the work.
 Use your platform and privilege to advocate for change.

Current Affinity Groups

Black Affinity

Black Affinity Group Schedule 2020-2021

Date

Time

Location

11/17/20

3:30-4:30pm

Zoom

12/16/20

3:30-4:30pm

Zoom

1/27/21

3:30-4:30pm

Zoom

2/17/21

3:30-4:30pm

Zoom

3/17/21

3:30-4:30pm

Zoom

4/14/21

3:30-4:30pm

Zoom

5/12/21

3:30-4:30pm

Zoom

6/16/21

3:30-4:30pm

Zoom

Future Affinity Groups

BIPOC Affinity (Black, Indigenous and People of Color)

LGBTQ+ Affinity
 


Additional Resources

EAP can make personalized referrals to mental health providers in the community with different identity including race and gender. Employees can reach us at 608-266-6561.
FEI can also make personalized referrals, you can reach them at 800-236-7905 or by using their online intake form (https://fei.eapintake.com)
The clinic with all providers of color is Anesis Therapy - http://anesistherapycenter.com/