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We live in a multiracial world, in which the nature and consequences of racism are in flux. Many people take pride in, and build on, the strengths of their racial and ethnic identities. Although many of the most egregious and overt examples of racism have been outlawed, it is still true that life chances and opportunities are heavily racialized—that is, determined by one’s race or ethnicity. Differences by racial or ethnic identity remain, and in some instances are growing, in areas of well-being that include wealth, income, education, health, and even life expectancy. These differences are the result of historical and current practices that produce and reproduce racialized outcomes in a way that is not well revealed by looking through our old lens of race.

This publication, produced through a partnership of those in the racial justice and leadership development fields, explores the ways in which our current thinking about leadership may contribute to producing and maintaining racialized dynamics, and identifies a set of core competencies associated with racial justice leadership. Recommendations are included for ways to develop and support these competencies. This paper does not seek to address all positive leadership competencies, but rather to highlight some particular capacities and practices that can further racial justice in organizations, communities, and the broader society.