- 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”.
- Author: Linda Forbes
University of California Cooperative Extension, 4-H Youth Development Program in Santa Clara County partnered with multiple community organizations to hold a 4-H Nature Explorers Day Camp at Escuela Popular Bilingual Academy in East San Jose from July 17 to July 21.
Organizers wanted to reach more participants this year than they had in the inaugural 2022 camp, so they structured the program for different K-8 grade levels to attend on different days. 79 campers participated, which was a 130% increase over the number of campers last year.
“Everything we did during the week was focused on environmental science,” said Susan Weaver, 4-H Regional Program Coordinator. “We partnered with Project Learning Tree, UC Environmental Stewards, UC Master Gardeners and CalFresh Healthy Living, UC– as well as community agencies related to the natural environment.”
Numerous activities engaged the youths such as field trips; demonstrations; and sessions themed around trees as habitats, birds and bugs, and being “leaf detectives.” 4-H Adult Volunteer, Laura Tiscareno, took charge of the hands-on Project Learning Tree sessions. Craft time included making nature-themed wind chimes and spinning paper snakes.
Bilingual teen camp counselors guided small groups of students for the duration of the day camp. In situations where the adult facilitator did not speak Spanish, teens translated information into Spanish for students with less English confidence.
“These kids call me ‘teacher' and it's awesome,” said Rodrigo, one of the counselors. “The camp benefits me a lot because I connect with children and in the future, I can even be a teacher if I wanted to.”
Another counselor, Andrea, learned about communication. “It's a bit different with kids at different age levels,” she said. “Since we had kindergarten through eighth grade, we had to switch our tactics from grade to grade so that they would understand us and we'd be able to understand them. Also learning how to bond with them so that they would pay more attention.
One highlight of the week was a field trip for third through eighth graders to the Master Gardeners location at Martial Cottle Park, where students learned about vermicomposting and made their own individual countertop worm habitat and composter.
Campers especially enjoyed the interactive demonstrations. “My favorite part is going on all the field trips because we went to a garden, and we've been catching worms and doing stuff about worms,” said one student. “It's really fun going on trips.”
Another camper said, “Something I would like to change about camp is having more time here.”
The program culminated in a Nature Camp Festival at Escuela Popular in partnership with community agencies. Youth enjoyed games, meeting reptiles, outdoor science activities, arborist crafts, a “Rethink Your Drink” table to make a fresh fruit drink, tamales, a nacho bar and more.
Representatives from the Silicon Valley Wildlife Center discussed animals that live in local neighborhoods and how the Center supports people to keep the animals safe. Victor Mortari of Vexotic Me talked about and showed snakes, spiders, scorpions, and other creatures, making the kids squeal while learning about them. As a fun added bonus, 4-H Community Educator Zubia Mahmood arranged to have a local team come to teach soccer skills as a healthy living activity.
The event increased the youth's interest in environmental education and involved Latino youth and adults who are new to 4-H – representing a community that has not historically benefited from the 4-H program. The teen teachers also increased their leadership and career readiness skills; post-camp surveys showed that all the teen counselors see 4-H as a place where they can be a leader and help make group decisions. Some campers noted in the survey that they wanted the camp to be every day, all summer!
National 4-H funded the camp in 2022 and 2023, allowing organizers to provide meals, T-shirts, water bottles and other items to foster belonging and promote healthy living. Community partners, crucial to the program's success, included the Boys and Girls Club of Silicon Valley, Escuela Popular Bilingual Academy, Silicon Valley Water and Silicon Valley Wildlife Center.
- Author: Elizabeth Moon
Celebrations abound in June: Graduations- Juneteenth- Pride Month - ANR postcard contest winners!
For myself, I look forward to this time to reflect on an academic/fiscal year and the promise of a summer to dive deeper and set the pathways for creating more opportunities to grow.
With Juneteenth next week, I am looking forward to reflecting with our Black and Allied Employees Resource Group on their Webinar on June 14 (10:30 - 12:00 pm) to hear from Dr. Mary Blackburn and Dr. Keith Nathaniel.They will describe their journeys in agriculture and extension, how their experiences shape their work, and how their lives connect to present patterns of inequity that are commonly believed to be a thing of the past. (zoom: https://ucanr.zoom.us/j/99024484120?pwd=b3hkeXBiMEhRNWJ1a1VrOWhVdHZFdz09 | Meeting ID: 990 2448 4120 | Passcode: 092774)
If you happen to be in the Bay area here is a list of 200+ Black-owned restaurants I helped to curate last year: 200+ Black-owned Restaurants Across The Bay Area.
In celebration of Pride, Ricardo Vela created this video celebrating the strides that have been made so far for LGBTQ+ rights. I also want to recognize that while we celebrate the advancements made, it is important to continue the progress and act to protect these rights. https://youtube.com/shorts/5CeomH5adO0?feature=share
2023 POSTCARD CONTEST WINNERS (photos of the postcards will be published soon).
- ThomasHarter, PHD, Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, Cooperative Extension
- Picture: Muted Colors of Browns and Blues
- Matthew Rodriguez, 4-H Youth DevelopmentAdvisor (Nevada, Placer, Sutter, Yuba)
- Picture: Heart with the words Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Elizabeth Bezark, Customer Service & Project Assistant, Business Operations - Davis
- Picture: Two trees in yellows and blues with roots intertwined with the words Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
- Bridgette Alvarez, Program and Events Specialist, Program Support Unit
- Picture: Earth with many people holding hands
- KelseyDugan, 4-H Community Education Specialist,UCCE San LuisObispo
- Picture: Ink drawing of crops with the words Diversity & Inclusion not just for enhancing our crops & soil
- SaoimanuSope, Digital Communication Specialist, Strategic Communications
- Picture: A variety of hairstyles with vibrant colors of blues, yellows, pink, brown and black
This will be a monthly update of ideas and challenges shared anonymously with me and the status of these requests.
Gender Unicorn by Trans Student Educational Resources (An educational, interactive resource exploring the spectra of gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, and emotional and physical orientations.
Once I have our website up and running there will be a special link to resources such as this.
Webpage Language Change Request
Worked with HR and Changed our Diversity Gender Inclusion page to the title: LGBTQIA+ Inclusion
Other requests submitted have been resolved through personal conversations with leadership and/or I am actively working with others to find ways to address the challenge shared.
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA OR CHALLENGE?
Interested in sharing ideas and challenges? Please visit the following feedback form: https://forms.gle/AWCinz3MYWGhzH5n9
Wish to discuss an issue directly with me, email: email@example.com , call 530-883-1174 (Ext 1612) or connect with me in-person.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Elizabeth Moon, director of Workplace Inclusion & Belonging, invites all UC ANR colleagues to participate in a postcard design contest and survey about diversity, equity and inclusion.
Are you able to visualize what inclusion, equity and belonging looks like at UC ANR?
Create a postcard depicting an image of inclusion, equity and belonging at UC ANR and submit it online at https://bit.ly/postcardcompetition2023 by May 8. The top six designs will receive a $50 Amazon gift card, their design featured on the new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion website and the published postcard.
In addition, please share your experiences and ideas in an anonymous survey about diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at ANR and ideas for possible ways to enhance our work in this area. Submit the survey by 11:59 p.m. on May 10 to be included in the random drawing for four $25 gift cards. To enter the gift card drawing, enter your email on the survey or email firstname.lastname@example.org privately with subject line “Completed Survey.”
Complete the DEI survey at http://bit.ly/DEISURVEY2023.
- Author: Mike Hsu
Getting to know UC ANR's new director of workplace inclusion and belonging
As a self-described “Jersey girl” with “half-Italian, half-Scottish” roots, Moon first experienced a multitude of cultures during college at George Washington University, in the diverse patchwork of downtown D.C. As part of her anthropology major, she engaged with the local Laotian community and wrote her senior thesis on Laotian dating and marriage practices.
Then, through Teach for America, Moon taught English to elementary school students in a multicultural, under-resourced community in Houston, Texas. Fulfilling her dream to live and work overseas, Moon moved to South Korea, where she taught English to a wide range of students – from preschoolers to generals in the military.
After her Korean husband came to the U.S. for graduate studies, Moon found herself interacting with and counseling many international graduate students. When the couple moved to Davis, she earned a master's in teaching English as a second language from Sacramento State. She began teaching at American River College, working with students from all over the world – predominantly Eastern Europe – and helping them acclimate to the American style of professional communication and hiring practices.
In 2013, Moon's experience working with international students landed her a position in career development at UC Davis' Graduate School of Management, where she worked in developing career skills for MBAs. She eventually paired her work with her passion for inclusive spaces for all, serving as the GSM Chief Diversity Officer.
We sat down with Moon recently to learn her vision for the newly created position at UC ANR. The following conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.
Among your many accomplishments at UC Davis – including creating the Action for Diversity GSM Community Group and developing the GSM DEI Strategic Vision and Goals – you organized community book studies. And this year, the book was “Becoming a Changemaker” by Alex Budak. What is one key takeaway that you can share?
One person in a job that has a certain title cannot singlehandedly transform the whole organization. However, each person in an organization has the power to create real change while working by asking their colleagues questions, such as ‘Where do you see the challenges? What is happening your community, in your group, in your team?'
Acknowledging you're very new to UC ANR, what are some of the challenges and opportunities that you have been seeing?
In my first weeks in this job, from everything I'm reading and the things that I'm starting to hear from people, I'm learning there's a lot of incredible work and energy and effort going into creating an inclusive and equitable community – and California – and really living up to that strategic goal.
But it's in a lot of different places. I really want to take three months to assess where everyone is, because you can't do anything without data these days. You need to have some data, not just anecdotal pieces: What is happening across UC ANR and how can we bring those pieces together?
So even if we're all working on different initiatives in different ways, we should know what the others are doing and thus really create that collaborative integration.
It sounds like you're envisioning your role will be as a nexus of that information and those various initiatives.
I see myself more as someone who brings things together. In my opinion, work in this area never works with a top-down approach with “You must do A” or “You must do B.” For me, it's about engaging, learning and using the language of that community. So it's not big, grandiose gestures, it's really small steps: building trust and putting my own biases to the side to learn from the person in front of me or the community in front of me.
It makes sense that you have to learn and understand a culture before you can change it.
I hate to say “culture change,” because I think sometimes that turns people off. I think it's about bringing people through and into a larger cultural experience. It's a journey. Each of us will be at different places in the journey.
And I want to put it out there: I myself am going to make mistakes. There are going to be times that I will not be successful in what I'm hoping to achieve. Or I may say the wrong thing.
What I really would like to see is that we – each of us – can come into a space authentically, so that people feel comfortable providing constructive feedback so that others can know more and do better. Internally, as staff and academics, we should work to have difficult conversations with respect and an open mind – even if it goes completely against our core.
If you operationalize some key components in the equity space and inclusion space in a way that's not top-heavy, you can start to move people in a certain direction – maybe you won't change their minds, because you're not going to change everyone's mind – but we can start moving our policies and procedures in a way that basically guide people towards a different perspective.
You can't force it. Once you force it, people often stop listening and learning.
Internal defense systems go up and people shut down.
Internal defense systems go up. They think: “You're just trying to change me.” It's a very difficult balance. If you're going to really have “inclusion and belonging,” that means inclusion and belonging of each and every single person – from Butte County to Imperial County.
And that means that there are going to be conflicts. There's no way to ever abolish conflict. There'll always be conflict and change. Those are constants. It's how you can manage through those conflicts and changes in a way that still respects the authenticity of each person coming to the table. And that does take learning, and that does take support and guidance.
It goes back to encouraging constant, active learning, doesn't it?
First and foremost, I think all of us are learners. If each and every one of us comes to a conversation with curiosity, with the skill set to ask curious questions, it can really help to break down some of those barriers. Questions like: “Why would you like to do that? How do you see that working? In what ways does that help us be better? Where else can I find more information about what you're discussing?”
Today in the Leadership DEI Discussion Group, we were listening to this TEDx talk about the “single story” and making sure that each one of us understands that sometimes, without us even knowing, we're presenting a single story. And we need to have those multitude of perspectives.
I started watching Ethan Ireland's videos, “Voices of CalNat,” and they're incredible. Having all those voices helps us to not have that “single story.”
In more concrete terms, how will you be listening and learning across UC ANR, in the coming weeks and months?
I know we have the At Work survey, but I would like to do an additive survey to gauge the feelings of our internal community, our academics and staff, and gain more information about their perspectives and the challenges that each community is working on. What is happening in Yolo County may not be the same as what's happening in Sacramento County: What are the differences within those communities that needs to be more specifically addressed?
Race needs to be a part of it, but there's also sexual orientation, there's gender, there's religious views – there are multiple aspects of diversity that need to be looked at.
As I'm doing these listening tours, I'd also like to start creating some focus groups – from small-group, one-hour sessions that are just conversations with folks to larger-scale meetings at some point – to start some design thinking around DEI at ANR, so that it's a collaborative process.
I am focusing on these aspects of inclusion and belonging, but by no means am I the only expert in this building. There are people who have so much expertise in a lot of different areas, and I'm going to be relying on them for their expertise to point me in the right direction to learn about that area.
I come from a generation where perfection was required and expected. But what I've learned over the last nine years at the Graduate School of Management is failure is okay. Failure just means that you're one step closer to the learning that's going to take you to where you need to go.
Located at the Second Street Building in Davis, Moon can be reached at email@example.com and (530) 883-1174./h3>