The Shape of Trust

The Shape of Trust is a multi-year project that roots government anti-racism work in the undeniable reality of our interdependence, collective health, creativity, and drive to belong. The work of racial equity and social justice is inherently relational, sustained, and generative. It requires us to shape - with each other, in the unfolding present - what is needed for us to thrive. What does it mean to be public servants committed to racial and social justice in this time? The Shape of Trust offers frameworks, tools, and practices that help us meet this moment together.

The project is designed to develop the daily, anti-racist practices of supervisers, managers, and HR advisers. All people benefit from a workplace that centers care for relationships. We know that the health and economic impacts of white supremacy have been amplified by the COVID-19 crisis and ongoing state violence against Black and brown bodies. These impacts are more intense for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who are already reeling from the forces of structural racism, settler colonialism, nationalism, and other intersecting forms of oppression. This reality carries into the workplace where Black, Indigenous, and People of Color experience inequities and other forms of harm at the interpersonal and institutional levels. What's more, how we engage with and support each other inside the City workplace ripples out into how we engage with and support the communities we serve.

Through a partnership with Our Bodhi Project and their Embodying Belonging and Coliberation Frame, The Shape of Trust anchors in a living systems approach, one that centers people of color and community-based, Earth-centered ways of being and knowing not always included in traditional racial equity work. Project contributors, designers, and facilitators include artists, cultural organizers, and healers who work in a variety of settings, from government to grassroots community. Project components integrate arts, culture, mindfulness, and embodiment as vehicles for learning and as practices to support supervision, management, and all forms of decision-making. Works by artists from the City of Seattle Civic Art Collection are used to illustrate concepts and paired with personal and group activities that support racial equity and social justice as a practice. The Shape of Trust invites us to tend to the contours of our authenticity, the rhythms of our resilience, the constellation of connections within and between people, teams, organizations, systems, and communities. While the project has grown out of government, its tools and resources can be applied in institutional and group settings of many kinds.

Shape of Trust