THE ROOT OF US
WHO WE ARE
We are a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultancy
with a focus on identity development, empowerment
and building strong communities.
That all children, youth, mentors, and community members have accurate knowledge of themselves and their roots, and use that knowledge to build strong, equitable, inclusive and diverse communities of practice.
We believe that strong roots
build strong communities.
To provide children, youth, mentors and community members opportunities to grow their knowledge of self, knowledge of historical and contemporary inequities, and acquire the tools, skills and strategies necessary for building more equitable and inclusive communities one root at a time.
"When we unlearn the lies we were told or taught about ourselves and each other, the truth we discover can be applied and acted upon with authenticity, confidence and courage.
That's why we start with the root of us."
Founder - The Root of Us
Here Is the Truth
Knowing ourselves, digging up our roots, is the first step in building strong diverse, inclusive and equitable communities of practice.
Diversity, equity and inclusion policies and practices only work when all parties fully invest, trust the process and do their inner work first. We cannot expect our community to fully value its diversity, solve inequities and truly be inclusive if we are not willing to look at our own strengths, weaknesses and the roots of bias and privilege which we all have.
From this ground work comes the knowledge needed to build strong, resilient, multicultural, multiracial teams, organizations, and communities - the sturdy trunk. It is there where we branch out to include others, always working towards the establishment of a just society. Roots, trunk, branches.
By seeking authentic relationships through conversations, consultations, circles, classes and conferences, we learn the history of injustice in this country, how injustice is maintained through individuals, culture, and institutions, and the strategies, skills and tools to disrupt this. To educate, empower and uplift individuals and communities, one root at a time.
Diversity, equity & inclusion work is more than a few trainings that come with a checklist of superficial inequities to be swapped out; it's deeply rooted in our identities and relationships with one another.
Strong relationships with strong roots builds strong communities.
We can't wait to dig up your roots with you!
What Is Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Work?
“A tree stands strong not by its fruits or branches, but by the depth of its roots.”
― Anthony Liccione
Diversity is what we see all day right in front of our eyes but have been taught to look away, to not notice, to be color blind.
The very root of our strength is our uniqueness and difference. Our collective wisdom and healing medicine that we bring to each other has been ”white washed” away by our learned indifference to our differences.
Yet we ARE the diversity we need for our individual and collective healing.
Equity is always about justice and fairness in all aspects of our lives - be it racial equity, gender equity, economic equity, education equity etc. With equity we wouldn’t need to stack up crates to see over a fence that doesn’t need to be there in the first place. Our social identities along with our physical, mental and emotional capacities need to be present in the room and deserve a seat at the table. In fact, why don’t we just gather in a circle outside without the table in the first place! We have PLENTY, and even more when we share. Scarcity is a lie that fuels fear and competition; abundance fuels generosity and collaboration.
Inclusion is the full participation of all that we are -
our identities, our roots.
Inclusion is not assimilation.
Token appearances and positions, calendar observances and illusions of equity are deceitful and
cause more harm and trauma.
Everyone wants to be visible, validated and valued every day and to experience access, engagement and opportunity.
But inclusion without full acceptance is too high a price to pay for the mere optics of acceptance.
In the end authentic inclusion is experienced as genuine belonging.
We often ask people,
"Who are you?"
For different reasons, we are curious about each other. Our assessment of others can be riddled with ignorance, historical inaccuracies, limiting stereotypes, prejudice and bigotry. We owe it to each other and ourselves to learn about one another in a context of trust, mutual respect, openness and most of all safety.
Knowing that our identities begin forming in the womb, are shaped by nature and nurture, and acted upon by other aspects of our social identities (culture, ethnicity, race, gender, etc), it is incumbent on each of us to uncover our roots and be responsible for defining who we are. To deny any one the root of who they are is to deny their humanity.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
"Honoring her unique compassion and amazing insight, Fernell has a unique and rare gift to present thoughtful perspectives specific to culture and equity. Her lifelong experiences provide credibility to deep insight regarding human behavior and breaking down barriers so we can see each other more authentically in our human form. I strongly suggest folks take advantage of Fernell’s expertise as a speaker. Her real talk and vulnerability will challenge folks to do the personal work it takes to ensure optimal growth, understanding and acceptance for all."
Hoquiam School District
"Fernell's ability to connect with our students is something I have never seen in all my years as an educator. Fernell has been a mentor in my life since 1985. I would not be who I am today if it were not for her guidance and friendship. She is my rock and I cherish our relationship dearly. Her passion for kids and her community are unmatched.
She does the hard work. Always."
Thomas Jefferson High School
"Fernell has been a friend, business partner, and mentor to me for over 10 years. I love Fernell and the work she does is deeply inspiring. As an owner of a non-profit, diversity is key to my business and my personal growth. Fernell has guided and listened to me in a way that not only has made me a better leader but a better human being"
"Fernell is an immovable, resilient visionary anchored in racial justice for Brown and Black children and youth. She has no fear in speaking truth to power - unless of course it diminishes her chances of winning on a different front. Fernell has reflected deeply about her own life and experiences as a Black Woman, Mother and Educator of Color and uses those powerful and painful memories in ways that instruct regardless of her audience, with the intent NOT to evoke guilt and shame, but deep reflection and action. Amidst the seriousness of this work/her life, she is, as well, funny, and fun to be with. I am continuously inspired by Fernell and never learn less in her company."
Northshore School District
Ready to find and connect to your roots?
We would love to hear from you!
Marysville, WA 98270