- Author: Elizabeth Moon
Creating and building space for all members of the ANR community is an important tenet for our organization. Strong strides have been made in building out policy and procedures to build out equity and inclusion. As with any change, there are still pathways that need to be developed both as an organization and as individuals within the ANR community.
One change I would like to recommend is a shift from the acronym DEI to Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and limiting the use of the acronym EDI. DEI as an acronym has become weaponized politically and socially within our nation, oftentimes with some individuals not even understanding the actual meaning of the words the acronym represents. Another reason for the shift encompasses the need to highlight what is most important to having a culture of belonging.
If we start with “diversity” (meaning a multitude of lived experiences from a variety of cultures, religions, sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, and ability) it may not lead to a sense of belonging. Research has shown that many public and private organizations have been increasing the number of hires to achieve parity within a community and have not put structures and policies in place to retain those diverse candidates - being an only or one of a few can be emotionally taxing to those employees. Diversity needs to exist within an equitable framework to be meaningful and sustainable.
The order of words often has a psychological impact on how individuals perceive and approach an idea. Starting with “equity” we prime our conversations to prioritize working to dismantle the barriers and providing access to historically marginalized communities and individuals. We highlight fairness and justice and ensure all have a fair opportunity to thrive in their communities. Also, by saying the full words and moving away from the ease of the acronym, gives a listener a nano-moment to digest the meaning of each word and limits the barriers brought on by the exclusive nature of acronyms.
“Inclusion” is the outcome of equity and diversity. We are able to create communities and programs where our full ANR community feels valued, respected and able to contribute their full self.
For many striving to create change, there is also an emphasis on “justice”. Many differing acronyms place justice at the front or end. Placement depends on what is being highlighted in the organization and where an organization can begin their work. Justice focuses on rectifying past and present wrongs, which often leads back to equity and the dismantling of systems and barriers.
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (and Justice) are all vital and mutually reinforcing. When all these interconnected pieces come into balance this is where the sense of belonging forms a connected foundation. Belonging becomes the ultimate center we strive to build through our efforts in Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. Thinking of a spirograph, different sizes of circles and colored pencils all working simultaneously to create a kaleidoscope of interconnected circles, this is how we can collaborate to continuously make steps to achieving greater belonging.
I am excited to build even more collaborations across ANR as we work to achieve our vision enabling all Californians to thrive.
DEI ADVISORY COUNCIL - CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
Nominations are being accepted until October 17. to fill one vacancy on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Council.
Nominate yourself, a colleague, a direct report or other UC ANR staff or academic member.
Prior to completing the nomination, please confirm the nominee's interest in participating in the Council. Review member expectations and the Council's Mission Statement and Vision at https://ucanr.edu/sites/PSU/files/358281.pdf
Experience and/or interest in advocating for change and moving forward DEI work.
Experience and/or interest in navigating/negotiating for organizational change in UC ANR.
Membership aims to represent the diversity of the UC ANR community and state of California, specifically including representation of marginalized racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and ability groups.
Membership includes a mix of staff and academics, represents a cross-section of UC ANR offices and programs, and geographical distribution (north/south, urban/rural).
Submit nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, “Nomination for DEI Advisory Council”.