Jasmine Hall Ratliff is a technical writer for Keecha Harris and Associates, Inc. In this KHA Q&A, she shares why she thinks it’s important for organizations to address racial inequities so they can better tackle other issues.
KHA: What was your path to KHA?
JHR: Keecha and I met through RWJF when I was a program officer on the childhood obesity team and contracted with Keecha for a healthy food access strategy project. Others on the team also contracted with her after that project ended, so she and I just kept seeing each other!
When I decided to leave RWJF I approached her, knowing what she was doing with the President’s Forum. Though I was leaving philanthropy as a career, I still wanted to keep a foot in the space and use what I’d learned from 16 years at foundations to potentially influence how the field moves forward on racial equity work.
KHA: What’s been the most rewarding part of your work here?
JHR: Continuing to engage in philanthropy. I think there is a lot of power and influence that foundations hold in changing policies and systems so continuing to work in that space, though outside of a foundation itself, has been really exciting.
KHA: Why should organizations care about racial equity?
JHR: Any organization caring about people and solving the problems of society should be working on first addressing racial equity. I’m not saying all the other solutions will automatically fall into place, but when organizations and the people in them get comfortable with talking about and then working toward racial equity, it will make having the subsequent conversations and finding solutions easier.
KHA: Why do you care about racial equity?
JHR: I feel that race was the start of this country’s historic inequities and continues to be the base of our current ones. As such, racial equity will lead to resolving other inequities such as income and education.
KHA: If you could recommend one book, related to your work, what would it be and why?
JHR: I guess the book that changed my perspective on how I function in this world was Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. It helped me better understand myself as an introvert and how I can thrive in any setting, whether work or just out in society.
KHA: What’s something about you people might be surprised to know?
JHR: Since a lot of my career is around analyses and mental machinations I’ve been picking up various physical challenges over the years. Thus far I have completed both a full and a half marathon, am now weight lifting (deadlift 135 lbs. and squat-lifting 175 lbs. so far). I eventually want to take up distance cycling, such as 40- and 100-mile rides. I find a thrill in setting a physical goal, pushing myself towards it and then achieving it.