“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”Black feminist, lesbian, poet, mother, warrior
Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. (DEI). These three words have been increasingly appearing in workplaces, higher education institutions, corporations, schools, community-based organizations, and even in the media and literature. In many ways, these three words serve as a foundation to bring people of all different social identities and life experiences together to help transform unjust systems, and to make our communities a place where all people can heal and thrive.
We asked our United Way family to help us define Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Below, you’ll see some examples of their answers, as well as formal definitions.
So, what does Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion mean?
Diversity: Every individual is unique, and groups of individuals reflect multiple dimensions of differences, including race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs and cognitive styles.
Equity:Equity is not the same as equality. Equity allows us to understand that each person is unique with their own strengths and supports. What one person may need to fully thrive in society and to achieve full fairness of outcomes may be different from another person. Equity is achieved when systemic, institutional and historical barriers based on race, gender, sexual orientation and other identities are dismantled and no longer determine socioeconomic, education and health outcomes.
Inclusion: A value and practice of ensuring that people feel they belong and that their input is valued by the whole (group, organization, society, system, etc.), particularly regarding decisions that affect their lives. This should include authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policymaking in a way that shares power.
Over the next 21 days, we will join one another on a journey to dig deeper into DEI, anti-racism and social justice. The first few days of the challenge will encourage all of us to build upon our various foundations for justice work. As you engage in today’s content, here are some key things to keep in mind: