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Equity As the Norm Instead of the Exception

By: Ruby Hernandez

One of the critical values within the evaluation work of Strategic Prevention Solutions (SPS) is social justice. Over the past few years, the importance of centering intersectional forms of equity and inclusion in evaluation practices has become an increasingly important consequence of effective evaluation. This is apparent in the upcoming sessions at this year’s American Evaluation Association (AEA) conference. From philanthropy and funders, to the methods, data, and visualization tools evaluators use to equitably reflect diverse communities and contexts, the sessions reflect the evolution and ongoing transformation of equity in evaluation work at every level.

There are serious repercussions that surface from failing to examine equity in our work as evaluators. Therefore, the time has come where we defer the challenging work of considering equity and self-reflection as evaluators. There are evaluators who are engaging in equity work and willing to share their experiences and skills, such as presenters Miriam Estrada, Harper Hill, and Emma Ubriaco of “Shaping Evaluation through Equity, Love, and Liberation,” who will describe how they began including accountable social justice work into their evaluation and who hope for the “evaluation standard to be truly rooted in equity as the norm instead of the exception.” We need to fully understand the importance of equity, such as evaluator, Aileen Reid, from the session, “Advancing Racial Equity & Justice: Conceptualizations, Criteria, and Competing Values.” They will be presenting on their “hard-earned advice” and practical considerations for centering racial equity in evaluation by sharing how they have conceptualized racial equity, how they have operationalized it, and how they navigate this work among important stakeholders.

We have much to learn from each other and the SPS team looks forward to learning from and with you at this year’s AEA conference and how we can better integrate these lessons into our community-based evaluations.

If you are interested in increasing your skills in equitable evaluation, SPS offers tools and resources to facilitate skills development, including a Culturally Responsive Case Study activity and Self-Reflection Questions for Culturally Responsive Evaluators worksheet. We also have a chapter on Culturally Responsive Evaluation in our NEW Program Planning & Evaluation Workbook!


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