Reflections: Continued Learning for Equity/Reflexiones: Aprendizaje Continuo para la Equidad

Yeisha Núñez-Denson, tells us about her experience joining our efforts toward an equitable internal work culture and helping lead our book read discussion. Una de nuestras empleadas más nuevas, Yeisha Núñez-Denson, nos cuenta sobre su experiencia al unirse a nuestros esfuerzos hacia una cultura laboral interna equitativa y ayudar a liderar nuestro debate sobre la lectura de libros.

Reflections: Our Personal & Professional Efforts Toward Racial Equity is a monthly blog. Each month, we will reflect on what we are doing either personally or professionally to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in our work. View more

Reflexiones: Nuestros esfuerzos personales y profesionales hacia la equidad racial es un blog mensual. Cada mes, reflexionaremos sobre lo que estamos haciendo, ya sea personal o profesionalmente, para mejorar la diversidad, la equidad y la inclusión en nuestro trabajo. Ver más

View our Equity Values & Commitment


As a newcomer to the Central New York Community Foundation, I was scheduled for a list of trainings and meetings to get an introduction to the environment and history here. I looked through the schedule of trainings and saw that there would be a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training. I didn’t think much of it; it’s the norm now to have DEI trainings at the workplace. To my surprise, the training was actually good! I could tell from the readings provided and the training discussion that this topic is something the Community Foundation has really put some thought and time into. I’m used to DEI trainings that seem impersonal and quick; the company’s way of “checking the box”. In the training, the topic of the book discussion came up and again in the all-employee meeting looking for book recommendations. Immediately, I signed up for the book discussion.

It was a breath of fresh air to see a company so invested in their employees and in (1) understanding the challenges its minority employees face on a daily basis and (2) looking for ways to fix/eliminate said challenges and make the workplace better to help everyone move forward and right some of the wrongs caused by people that came before us.

The book discussion was initiated by an employee in 2020 and has become an annual event for the Community Foundation. This year’s book was Decolonizing Wealth by Edgar Villanueva. Those who decided to participate met and spoke on thoughts and feelings presented to us by the book. Villanueva spoke on the different obstacles that minorities in the US face, especially when it comes to access of different resources and money. These obstacles have been set in place by the colonizers, as Villanueva states.

This topic hits home for me. I am a minority, a Puerto Rican woman. I’ve experienced firsthand many of the obstacles Villanueva spoke about in his book, simply because my ancestors are not white. I’ve seen my parents have to fight and break through obstacles placed by colonizers because of their Puerto Rican accents and my father’s skin color. I’ve witnessed my husband having to work twice as hard and prove his Dual Master’s education when his white counterparts have gotten in the door with far less.

I have to be honest and say that I was a bit nervous helping lead the discussion – racism is not an easy topic to discuss, especially in a room where the majority is white. During the discussion, I was pleasantly surprised to see how open everyone was to speak on the topic. I looked around as people spoke on their findings of the book and saw everyone paying close attention. Some were even taking notes. No one was offended, no one victimized themselves, no one raised their voice. It was simply a discussion – a successful discussion among colleagues.

This may be small for some, but for me, this showed me how important it is for us as the Community Foundation to speak on the difficult topics. This discussion further emphasized the importance of community for us at the Community Foundation. We want to help the community we serve in the best way that suits the community that surrounds us. In order to do just that, we have to be willing to listen, learn and take accountability. This will help us take steps necessary to work together among each other and the community. Having these tough conversations will help right some wrongs, help heal the community and move towards a society where obstacles based on the color of your skin or where you come from does not determine the success you will have.


Como recién llegada a Central New York Community Foundation, tenía programada una lista de capacitaciones y reuniones para obtener una introducción al medio ambiente y la historia aquí. Revisé el cronograma de capacitaciones y vi que habría una capacitación sobre Diversidad, Equidad e Inclusión (DEI). No pensé mucho en eso; en estos tiempos es la norma tener capacitaciones DEI en el lugar de empleo. De sorpresa, ¡el entrenamiento fue bueno! Entre las lecturas proporcionadas y la discusión de capacitación, me di cuenta de que este tema es algo en lo que la Community Foundation realmente ha dedicado algo de reflexión y tiempo. Estoy acostumbrada a las capacitaciones DEI que parecen impersonales y rápidas; la forma que tiene la empresa de “marcar la casilla”. Durante unas de las reuniones, el tema de la discusión sobre el libro surgió una y otra vez en la reunión de todos los empleados en busca de recomendaciones de libros. Inmediatamente me inscribí en la discusión del libro.

Fue un alivio al ver a una empresa tan comprometida con sus empleados y en (1) entender los desafíos que sus empleados minoritarios enfrentan a diario y (2) buscar formas de solucionar/eliminar dichos desafíos y mejorar el lugar de trabajo para ayudar a todos a avanzar y corregir algunos de los errores causados por las personas que nos precedieron.

La discusión sobre el libro fue iniciada por un empleado en 2020 y se ha convertido en un evento anual para Community Foundation. El libro de este año fue Descolonizando la Riqueza de Edgar Villanueva. Quienes decidieron participar se reunieron y hablaron sobre los pensamientos y sentimientos que nos presenta el libro. Villanueva habló sobre los diferentes obstáculos que enfrentan las minorías en Estados Unidos, especialmente cuando se trata de acceso a diferentes recursos y dinero. Estos obstáculos han sido puestos por los colonizadores, como afirma Villanueva.

Este tema se me hace conocido. Soy una minoría, una mujer puertorriqueña. He experimentado de primera mano muchos de los obstáculos de los que habló Villanueva en su libro, simplemente porque mis antepasados no son blancos. He visto a mis padres tener que luchar y superar obstáculos puestos por los colonizadores debido a su acento puertorriqueño y el color de piel de mi padre. He sido testigo de cómo mi esposo tiene que trabajar el doble de duro y demostrar su educación de doble maestría cuando sus homólogos blancos entraron por la puerta con mucho menos.

Debo ser honesta y decir que estaba un poco nerviosa al ayudar a dirigir la discusión – el racismo no es un tema fácil de discutir, especialmente donde la mayoría es blanca. Durante la discusión, me sorprendió gratamente ver cuán abiertos estaban todos a hablar sobre el tema. Miré a mi alrededor mientras la gente hablaba sobre sus hallazgos del libro y vi que todos prestaban mucha atención. Algunos incluso estaban tomando notas. Nadie se ofendió, nadie se victimizó, nadie alzó la voz. Simplemente fue una discusión, una discusión exitosa entre colegas.

Esto puede ser algo pequeño para algunos, pero para mí, me mostró lo importante que es para nosotros, como Community Foundation, hablar sobre temas difíciles. Esta discusión enfatizó aún más la importancia de la comunidad para nosotros en Community Foundation. Queremos ayudar a la comunidad a la que servimos de la mejor manera que se adapte a la comunidad que nos rodea. Para lograr precisamente eso, debemos estar dispuestos a escuchar, aprender y asumir responsabilidades. Esto nos ayudará a tomar las medidas necesarias para trabajar juntos entre nosotros y la comunidad. Tener estas difíciles conversaciones ayudará a corregir algunos errores, ayudará a sanar a la comunidad y avanzar hacia una sociedad donde los obstáculos basados en el color de tu piel o tu lugar de origen no determinan el éxito que tendrás.

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