The FACE committee hosted our second virtual Coffeehouse on “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Taking the Buzz out of Buzzwords” on November 10th. It was a great discussion with three breakout groups for each term. We focused on defining the terms and sharing our own personal experiences. Our next Coffeehouse, which will take place on December 8th beginning at 7:30 pm, will look at actionable paths to develop a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Chambers community. To help prepare everyone for the next Coffeehouse, the buzzwords are defined below with Thought Exercises for you to try.
Diversity, equity and inclusion all work together. As inclusion strategist Vernã Myers says, “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance”. Equity is having a fair opportunity to get to the party and learn how to dance. It is our belief that talking about our varied experiences will help to create a cultural shift of inclusive practices within our PTA and Chambers community.
Diversity is the presence of different people and perspectives within a given setting. For Chambers, that means having students, teachers, staff, and families of various racial, ethnic, and religious identities. But beyond that, we also differ in nationality, sexual orientation and identification, ability, and socioeconomic status. Embracing all of these factors contributes to the creation of an accepting community and a more holistic Chambers identity.
Thought Exercise: Think about your 10 closest friends, family members, and mentors. List out their race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, ability and socioeconomic status. How diverse is your inner bubble? How would your feelings and reactions change if you identified as a different race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion?
Equity is grounded in the principle of fairness. Equity acknowledges that barriers and privileges exist. We all start at different places. And equity is a process that strives to address this imbalance. Equitable treatment and opportunities shows up in our everyday decisions and personal biases.
Thought Exercise: Think of an example where a group was provided equal access. How would equitable access have been more fair in your example? Can you identify four biased thoughts you had today and how you addressed those thoughts? If you are not satisfied with the way you did, what could you do differently next time?
Inclusion is fostering an environment where each individual is valued for their diversity and empowered to engage with and contribute to their community. They are also provided access to the same resources and opportunities as their peers. Inclusion at the Chambers community would mean representation of our diverse groups in the flyers that are sent out and in our websites and social media posts. It also means direct invitations and the empowerment of more diverse members to participate in activities and positions of leadership. The graphic above summarizes how students (not at Chambers) expressed what inclusion meant to them.
Thought Exercise: What have been your experiences in Chambers’ activities (as an adult or for your student)? Have you felt welcomed and valued? What are we doing as a Chambers community that is negatively impacting a sense of belonging from all our students and families?
We hope you can join us on December 8th for another engaging discussion.
Want to learn even more about implicit bias? PTA members are invited to an anti-bias training on December 3rd at 6 pm. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wspta-approved-training-unconscious-bias-awareness-workshop-tickets-130457727575