Services & Resources

What is really required to expand organizational diversity & promote inclusion?

Many diversity training programs unfortunately proceed without systematic assessment of a particular organization’s needs or careful research about successful precedents in measurably improving workplace cultures.

Genuine diversity & inclusion means going beyond tokenism or counting minorities- it involves recognizing who is included and excluded from full participation in the services an organization provides. Eliminating barriers to participation benefits not only previously marginalized individuals and groups but allows an organization to maximize its outreach and its appeal for diverse audiences. The bottom line: diversity and inclusion are good for business.

Expanded organizational diversity & inclusion requires multiple types of simultaneous activity targeting individual learning, team development, organizational structure, and cultural climate, all of which interact in any workplace.

“Some of the most creative periods have emerged when people of different backgrounds have come together. America’s energy and inventiveness have been attributed to the diversity of thought born from this nation of immigrants.”

The Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations

Inclusant Services

strategic-planning
  • Guided organizational self-assessments
  • Recognizing existing resources for creating an inclusive workplace
  • Identifying priorities for diversity & inclusion interventions
  • Drafting diversity statements and policies
  • Identifying and collaborating on grant proposals
  • Building partnerships
capacity-building
  • Embedded analysis of workplace cultural climate
  • Individual consultations with staff
  • Facilitating internal task forces
  • Promoting inclusive language in all organizational documents
professional-development
  • New staff orientation meetings
  • Creation of a diversity & inclusion toolkit based on organizational needs
  • Staff workshops and diversity training opportunities
  • Facilitating “field trips” to promote staff team-building
  • Coordinating with communications efforts to diversify outreach and content
  • Facilitating participation in emerging conversations about diversity & inclusion
  • Creating a presence at relevant community activities and events
  • Advertising organizational successes via blogs and other writing

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Definitions

  • Diversity  the presence of differences, meaning everywhere we are and everything we encounter
  • Equity  a condition in which identities assigned to historically excluded or oppressed groups no longer pre-determines their ability to thrive, with the root causes of systematic inequities identified and eliminated
  • Inclusion  a system of activities and processes undertaken in order to create an organizational climate that is equitable, fair, and actively welcoming of differences
  • Intersectionality  the reality that forms of privilege and oppression interact rather than existing in isolation from one another (e.g., one is not not only male, or white, or poor, etc., but all of these at all times, contributing to a unique overall experience of social inequality and privilege)
  • Privilege  unearned social advantages that accrue to all members of dominant groups, about which they are often unaware because their experience is mistaken to be “universal”
  • Racism  systematic, institutionalized, and structural processes routinely advantaging a majority group (in the U.S., this group is called “white”) and discriminating against people of color
  • Social Justice full and unhindered participation of all groups in a society affording equal economic, political, and social rights and in which there is fair distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges

Self-Assessment Questions for Inclusive Behavior

  • Have I intentionally and systematically sought to educate myself about issues affecting minority/marginalized communities of which I am not a part?
  • Do my professional and personal habits demonstrate a commitment to social justice in the U.S. and around the world?
  • Have I contributed financially or otherwise to an organization, fund, or project that actively promotes social justice and equity?
  • Have I spent intentional time reflecting on my upbringing and analyzing where, how, and when I was receiving discriminatory messages about race, ability, gender, class, sexuality, and so forth?
  • Have I spent time looking at my own attitudes and behaviors as an adult to determine how I am contributing to, rather than combating, discrimination or exclusion that does not directly affect me?
  • Do I actively acknowledge both the types of oppression and social privileges that I enjoy?
  • Will I make a promise to myself that I will interrupt inequity and discriminatory comments, actions, that occur around me – even when this involves some personal risk?
  • Can I make it part of my routine to pay attention to issues of social justice in my community and to ask members of oppressed groups how I can be more inclusive and support their efforts, rather than deciding what is best for them?
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