Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement
Historic Oak View County Park affirms its commitment to honoring our organization’s long-term investment in serving our community equitably. Guided by Wake County’s Core Values, we believe that different backgrounds and experiences strengthen our organization and produce better results. We value inclusion across race, gender, age, religion, identity and experience.
Fourteen enslaved men, women, and children shaped Oak View’s natural and cultural landscape, and African American laborers continued to do so as landless farmers sharecropping and tenant farming after Emancipation. Despite living and laboring under an unfair and unjust system, these individuals shaped Oak View in powerful and fundamental ways. We recognize that racial inequities from the past are reflected in systemic racial inequities today. In response to historic and present-day inequities, in October 2020 Oak View adopted a Racial Equity & Inclusion Plan. The plan is neither complete nor static; it sets up a living document that will guide and create a system of support as we continually reevaluate our institution, our stated values, and our vision for the future as a just and equitable center for the community.
The purpose of Oak View’s Racial Equity & Inclusion Plan: To ground ourselves in previous equity and inclusion work and guide us to specific, measurable goals and outcomes. The actions identified will help us create clear and stated goals that are understood by all levels within our organization: staff, administrators, and board members. We will use this plan to hold ourselves accountable internally and invite community members to hold us accountable for our stated goals, including the shaping and reframing of this plan, as well as updates about progress and outcomes. We recognize that the work of advancing racial equity and fostering true inclusion are ongoing and require lifelong learning, constant reflection, and guarantees of institutional accountability.
The vision of Oak View’s Racial Equity & Inclusion Plan: Historic Oak View will be a community-centered park with educational programming and interpretation that invites visitors to explore the historical relationship between farming, land, and freedom, elevating the stories and perspectives of landless farmers. Our park will serve a diverse public as a site for meaningful community engagement, thoughtful and honoring learning and reflection, and healthy recreation – a park for all.
Focus Area 1: Education and Interpretation
- Commit to providing open, honest, and culturally competent educational programs
- Measurable outcome: New “Historic Oak View Property Tour” which highlights the history and lives of all who lived and worked at Oak View, landowner and landless, enslaved and free, before and after the Civil War (Completed November 2019)
- Measurable outcome: Provide elementary field trip programs that are committed to empathetic and inclusive programming, providing a comprehensive and conscientious interpretation of enslavement
- Debuted two new virtual education programs for schools: “In the Farm’s Kitchen” and “Change Over Time,” which focus on Eliza Hutchings and Walt Williams, two individuals who were enslaved at Oak View. Both programs focus on telling an honest and inclusive history that focuses on the agency, resilience, and full history of the lives and labor of Eliza and Walt (Completed August 2020)
- Support a more welcoming and accessible visitor experience, by updating and refurbishing our visitor’s center building, the Farm History Center
- Measurable outcome: Expand our most popular area, the children’s play area “The Farmer’s Corner,” to allow for increased use and enjoyment (In progress)
- Measurable outcome: Create new interpretive element, a Seed Library, that focuses on heirloom seeds and native species and preserves and honors the agricultural legacy of Piedmont North Carolina, while encouraging visitors to practice sustainable agricultural practices (In progress)
- Commit to providing a purposeful and inclusive interpretation of Oak View’s history in our physical interpretation and exhibits
- Measurable outcome: Complete installation of the Tenant House Exhibit. The interpretive goal of this exhibit is to engage visitors in participatory, hands-on, and inquiry-based pedagogy centered around the question of: “How did landless farmers create a home in spite of an oppressive labor system?” We will further promote this more purposeful and inclusive interpretation in all the ways that we can, and will use this exhibit to function as the benchmark for all future interpretation (Completed December 2020)
- Measurable outcome: Move forward with development of a Main Farmhouse exhibit. The interpretive goal of this exhibit is to engage visitors in the questions of: “Whose farm is this? What’s your story? Who tells your story? Could you make a living as a farmer?” (In progress)
Focus Area 2: Authentic Community Relationships
- Develop and expand sustained community partnerships with organizations making a difference in Southeast Raleigh, with community, education, and collaboration at the heart of our mission.
- Measurable outcome: Partnered with District C, an organization that will connect us with high school students from Southeast Raleigh High School and provides the students with an opportunity to address a real-world issue and present their findings (In progress December 2020 – March 2021)
- Measurable outcome: Partnered with Neighborhood Ecology Corps, a partnership with the City of Raleigh and the Center for Human-Earth Restoration, an organization for students in grades 6-8 that provides programming focused on nature and community. We will provide a virtual program to the students in December, and once in-person programming can resume, will work to identify volunteer projects and other onsite programming (In progress December 2020 – ongoing)
Focus Area 3: Communications, Administration, and Accountability
- Ensure that our public communications make it easy for the public to find and understand our site and mission and the standards we are holding ourselves accountable to
- Measurable outcome: Updated Photography registration webpage to include a statement that asks people to be mindful and respectful of the complex history of the park and its foundations as a plantation (Completed August 2020)
- Communicate our goals and mission in a way that engages and invites the community to hold us accountable for accomplishing these goals, creating a sense of shared authority.
- Measurable outcome: Post our Racial Equity Action & Inclusion Plan on our website so that it is easy for the public to understand our goals, our mission, and also track our progress by making sure to frequently update the page with measurable outcomes and timelines (Completed January 2021)
- Measurable outcome: Foster an advisory board that is reflective of the surrounding community, ensuring that diverse community voices and perspectives are included and heard. In January 2021, we added two new board members, both of whom are/were educators in the public school system. The 2021 Advisory Board will also be tasked with guiding and advising our Racial Equity & Inclusion Plan (In progress)
- Understand that external actions and changes are superficial if we do not pair them with internal changes that align Oak View with more equitable and inclusive administrative practices.
- Measurable outcome: Internally audit our hiring and recruitment process, and rewrite job posting descriptions to highlight our investment in hiring individuals with proven skills in cultural competency and experience working with diverse audiences (Completed October 2020 – ongoing)
- Measurable outcome: We will provide ongoing staff training and development to ensure that staff provide culturally competent programs and visitor services that respect the social and emotional needs of all visitors (Completed June 2020 – ongoing)
- Measurable outcome: All staff will attend The Equity Paradigm’s “Foundations in Racial Equity” training (Completed January 2021)
We Welcome Feedback
We welcome any comments, ideas, and suggestions. We are also always actively recruiting community organizations to partner with. To ask questions, provide feedback, or to request a full version of this plan, please contact Abby Kellerman at [email protected] or 919-212-7695.
Interested in being involved in this work? Historic Oak View’s Advisory Board guides and advises the park’s equity initiatives. If you would like to learn more about involvement in the Advisory Board, please contact Emily Catherman Fryar at [email protected] or 919-212-7958.
Historic Oak View County Park welcomes all visitors and affirms its commitment to offering programs and services that are accessible to everyone. We will make every effort to ensure that visitors of all abilities are fully included in all our programs and facilities.
Visitors Who Are Blind or Partially Sighted
Visitors Who Are Deaf
Visitors on the Autism Spectrum
We welcome families with children and adults on the autism spectrum. The following resources will help you plan for an enjoyable visit.
Historic Oak View is a 27-acre site with historic farm buildings and grounds, with lots of different opportunities to learn about and engage with Wake County’s agricultural heritage. Preparing for your visit a few days beforehand can make for a more manageable and enjoyable experience. The following tips will help in your planning:
- “My Oak View” Visual Schedule: Download, print and complete the “My Oak View” Visual Schedule before visiting the park. It includes a visual checklist with location and communication cards that will help you and your child design and prepare for your visit.
- StoryWalk® at Oak View Social Narrative: Download and print this social narrative before coming out to Oak View to enjoy the monthly StoryWalk®.
- “My Oak View” Park Pack: This pack is available to borrow during our regular business hours. Stop by the Farm History Center before you begin your visit to check out the kit, which includes a customizable visual schedule, maps, sensory-seeking toys, noise-reducing headphones and suggestions for making your visit an enjoyable experience. (Unavailable indefinitely due to COVID-19 precautions)
- Sensory supports: Noise-reducing head phones and various sensory-seeking toys are available to borrow any time during our operating hours on a first-come, first-served basis. Simply ask a staff member at the front desk of the Farm History Center to check them out at the start of your visit (Unavailable indefinitely due to COVID-19 precautions)
Visitors of Different Physical Abilities
Historic Oak View County Park is an ADA accessible location. There is a marked accessible parking space in the main parking lot and near each picnic shelter. The parking lots and paved paths leading to picnic shelters and the restrooms meet ADA criteria and there are accessible restrooms in the Farm History Center visitors center and carriage house. The restrooms in the visitors center have automatic faucets and have a two step stool for visitors of short stature and children. The Farm History Center Visitors Center entrance is level and most historic building entrances have ramps. The plank kitchen and tenant house have steps. There is a portable ramp available for the plank kitchen (contact park staff to make available). There is a booklet that explains the second floor of the cotton gin house for visitors with mobility disabilities.