D.E.I.

AAUW – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
by June Reinert, DE&I La Crosse Branch Coordinator
Summer 2022

Here are some ways that you can continue to educate yourself about DE&I over the summer:

● Step out of your comfort zone and attend a Juneteenth Celebration, Gay Pride event or Native American Pow Wow.

● Go to a Farmers Market and purchase from
vendors who don’t look like you. Find a market near you at https://www.wifarmersmarkets.org/find-a-farmers-market.aspx

● Attend the “Ain’t I A Woman” art show with original pieces by 23 Black female Wisconsin artists at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Several of the pieces have videos of the artist’s explanations of their works.

https://www.mmoca.org/art/aint-i-a-woman

● Eat at an ethnic restaurant that you have never been to and taste a different culture.

● Google some sites that can broaden your
knowledge about some of today’s most profound and challenging issues like https://www.facinghistory.org/

Look up the Facing History and Ourselves homepage on Facebook. Encourage your friends to do the same and take time to discuss what you have learned.

Hope you have an enjoyable and interesting summer! The DEI Committee

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
by June Reinert, DE&I La Crosse Branch Coordinator
May 2022

Intersectionality and Unconscious Bias
When discussing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, it is important to understand the nuances of the language we use.

Intersectionality
1: the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups

Legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality in her work Mapping the Margins. She noted that scholars often look at outcomes for women or for African Americans, but never look at what happens to African American women whose lives are impacted by the ways these multiple sources of oppression interact. Understanding intersectionality gives us a way of understanding the cumulative effect of discrimination and oppression on people. That’s not that one person’s oppression is greater than another’s; it’s a way of recognizing that our experiences may not be the same because inequality is a complex phenomenon.

Here’s an example familiar to AAUW members: Pay equity. We know that men and women are paid unequally for equal work: on average, women make 82¢ for every

dollar that a white man makes. But did you know that moms make 70¢ on that same dollar? Or that Latinas make just 55¢? These are just a few examples of intersectionality and how parental status, or ethnicity intersect with gender to impact pay equity.

Unconscious Bias

Definition of unconscious
1 : not marked by conscious thought, sensation, or feeling
2 : not knowing or perceiving : not aware
3 : not consciously held or deliberately planned or carried out

Definition of bias
1 : an inclination of temperament or outlook especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : prejudice

We all know what overt biases are, but we all have unconscious biases, too. These are biases that might be inconsistent with our values, that we would never knowingly act on and that we weren’t even aware we had. And having them doesn’t make us racist or sexist or homophobic,etc… At any given, moment we are bombarded with lots of information, but our brains can only process a fraction of it at once. To help us try and make sense of the world around us, our brain uses short cuts. Those short cuts are shaped and informed by our experiences. But, because sometimes the things we need to make sense of are unfamiliar, bias can enter the picture.

For example, here is an image, what do you see? Triangles, circles? This is the Kanizsa Triangle. Most people see a solid white triangle pointing upwards, an inverted triangle pointing downwards, and a set of black discs. But the fact is, none of these shapes are present in the figure; this image is of “pac-men” and V’s, not triangles and circles. This is an example of our unconscious mind using familiar information to try and make sense of what it sees, because in the absence of complete information, our mind needed to rely on something to help us figure it out. So, what can you do?

1. Self-awareness is the first step
2. Create safe spaces to have open discussions about the biases you have 3. Increase your contact with people who are dissimilar
4. Set realistic expectations

We’re not going to be able to change our unconscious mind over night, but we will be able to make progress. Only when we confront our biases are we able to truly recognize the value diversity brings to an organization like AAUW. It’s important for our continued growth and sustainability as an organization to make a concerted effort to be inclusive and create spaces where everyone feels welcome.

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“Dealing with Diversity can be Daunting”
by June Reinert, DE&I La Crosse Branch Coordinator 
April Newsletter

Key Terms & Concepts
When discussing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, it is important to understand the nuances of the language we use.

Definition of diversity
1: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : variety especially : the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization programs intended to promote diversity in schools.
2: an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities : an instance of being diverse a diversity of opinion.

Variety.
That’s what diversity means in essence. But it also means that recognizing what makes us different and unique is important and, without taking diversity into consideration, we run the risk of excluding some individual.

Definition of Inclusion
1 : the act of including : the state of being included.
2 : the act or practice of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded (as because of their race, gender, sexuality or ability).

Diversity vs. Inclusion
Diversity refers to characteristics, the dimensions that make each of us unique. Inclusion entails behaviors and actions that make us feel welcomed or not. An environment that creates a sense of belonging, where everyone feels welcomed and included, is essential for the success of diversity efforts.

To be truly inclusive, we often must change the culture that in environments where people feel supported, welcomed, respected, and valued are actually more productive; everyone feels a greater connection to the organization’s mission.

As diversity advocate Verna Myers once said, “Diversity is being invited to the party, and inclusion is being asked to dance.” If you don’t have both, neither works.

Inclusion vs. Belonging
So, if diversity means the characteristics that make us unique, and inclusion refers to behaviors and actions, then what is belonging? Belonging is feeling like you are a part of something, that you actually you matter. AAUW needs all of these things together — diversity, inclusion, and belonging — for our branches to continue to grow and thrive.

Definition of Equity
1a : justice according to natural law or right specifically : freedom from bias or favoritism.
1b : something that is equitable.
Every AAUW member should understand what we mean by equity. After all, we are the nation’s premier organization fighting for gender equity.

Equity vs. Equality
Although these two words have the same root, they don’t mean the same thing. They are often used interchangeably, even though they differ in meaning. Equality means everyone gets the same access to — or amount of — something. Equity, by contrast, is about everyone having equal access to what they need to be successful. And those needs can be quite different.

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“Dealing with Diversity can be Daunting”
by June Reinert, DE&I La Crosse Branch Coordinator – March Newsletter

Seven underlying principles of diversity:
1. It will help to keep in mind the Diversity is an inside job, meaning that diversity is not about “them.” Rather, it is about each person coming to terms with his or her attitudes, beliefs and experiences about others and gaining comfort with difference.

2. Diversity goes beyond race and gender. The diversity tent is big enough to include everyone — young and old, homeless and affluent, immigrant and native, white and black, rural and urban, gang member and corporate professional

3. No one is the target of blame for current or past inequities. All human beings have been socialized to behave in certain ways, and all of us are at times both perpetrators and victims of discrimination and stereotypes. The idea is to move forward in creating more opportunities

4. Human beings are ethnocentric, seeing the world through their own narrow view and judging the world by their familiar yardstick. This is not bad in itself, but it can be a source of conflict if we do not accommodate and value other ways of being.

5. The human species resists change. This makes the constant adaptation required by diversity difficult for people already overwhelmed by staggering transitions in today’s communities and organizations.

6. Human beings find comfort in likeness. We have a tendency to seek the company of those most similar to us in a variety of ways… age, gender and ethnicity being just several of many.

7. It is difficult for people to share power. History shows that we rarely do it voluntarily. Understanding this past can help clarify why there is sometimes a backlash associated with diversity efforts from people who believe they will lose in this experience.

All these truisms about the human species do not make people mean-spirited or cruel. It just makes us human. Nevertheless, these realities make dealing with diversity a challenge.

Diversity means variety and is all about what makes us unique.

What are some of the dimensions of diversity? They can be anything that has been historically used to differentiate groups, such as ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs or socio-economic status. Some of these dimensions are more visible than others, and some are more salient in the United States than in other parts of the world, given our history of discrimination and exclusion.

Dimensions of diversity can be broken down into two categories: primary dimensions, which can’t be changed, and secondary dimensions, which we have some control over.

SPECIFIC DIMENSIONS OF DIVERSITY:

· Age
· Ethnicity & National Origin
– Gender & Gender Identity
· Occupation
· Race
· Physical & Mental Ability
· Color
· Marital Status
· Immigration Status
· Parental Status
· Religious Beliefs
· Income & Socioeconomic Status
· Education
· Political Beliefs
· Veteran Status
· Sexual Orientation

Resource for for Diversity- “Finding Myself in the Story of Race | Debby Irving“ – a 101 for white people about what white privilege and institutional racism are and how they manifest. https://youtu.be/oD5Ox5XNEpg

Any member that is interested in serving on the La Crosse Branch of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, please contact June Reinert: reinert.june@eagle.uwlax.edu
or 608-881-0456. I hope to hear from you and am looking forward to working with you on this important adventure.

 

“The Initial Call for diversity training for the entire AAUW membership”
by June Reinert, DE&I La Crosse Branch Coordinator – February Newsletter.

In a letter from the CEO of AAUW in 2018, AAUW put forth a bold vi- sion for our future with a new strategic plan. The plan included action- able goals and tactics towards achieving equity, along with the values, mission and vision for the organization. We updated the plan in 2020 with a 2.0 version. But words are only as good as the paper they are printed on if they are not embodied in all we do. Our values include being fiercely nonpartisan, always fact-based and with the utmost of integrity, and a commitment to inclusion and intersectionality.

As the Inclusion & Equity Committee — made up of member leaders dedicated to our mission, vision and values — launches this updated set of resources on diversity, equity and inclusion in Fall 2020, I’m reminded of one of our key goals within the plan: Embody the goals and spirit of inclusion, diversity and intersectionality across all AAUW activities and participants.

We need to not only value the importance of intersectionality, diversity and equity, we must do the work — and it is lifelong work, core to our mission and vision. Systemic racism is firmly rooted in the U.S. and the injustices of today mirror our shameful history, from police brutality to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.

AAUW must commit and continuously recommit to fighting for justice, long-term and lasting change, and we stand in solidarity against racism. But, as AAUW is nearing 140 years old, we also acknowledge that as
an organization we have a lot of our own work to do in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Our commitment to diversity must be a commitment from all of our 170,000 members and advocates around the nation who believe in our vision of equity for all. That means we must hold each other accountable, we must set bold goals and be transparent about where we are and where we are going, we must be lifelong learners in reading, listening and understanding. This is work we must all embrace, and I’m grateful to the Inclusion & Equity Committee for putting forth a roadmap to help guide your individual and group work ahead.

You’ll continue to hear more from me, the staff and the Board about additional efforts in embracing diversity and inclusion in all that we do at AAUW, but for now, I invite you to open your heart, your mind, your ears and your eyes and dive into this work with us.

Finally, I want to extend my personal appreciation to past and present members of the Inclusion & Equity Committee and to express my deep gratitude for all their thoughtful work that went into creating this toolkit.

In solidarity,
Kim Churches, CEO AAUW

Note:  Any member that is interested in serving on the La Crosse Branch of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, please contact June Reinert: reinert.june@eagle.uwlax.edu or608-881-0456. I hope to hear from you and am looking forward to working with you on this important adventure.

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Transit Equity Day La Crosse, January 31 – February 4, 2022
For the past four years, social justice, equity, and transportation advocacy groups have been celebrating Transit Equity Day (TED) on Feb. 4, Rosa Parks’ birthday. Started by the Labor Network for Sustainability, TED is a chance to bring to the fore the important role public transportation plays in ensuring everyone, no matter age, income, ability, or color, has access to jobs, education, services, necessities, entertainment, health care, and more. “Public Transit provides basic mobility for many in our communities. It is also essential urban infrastructure–just like roads, bridges, tunnels and utilities–that is crucial to the economic, social and environmental well-being of all our regions.” https://www.labor4sustainability.org/transit-equity-2022/

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January Newsletter:
AAUW – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan

By June Reinert, AAUW-WI DE&I La Crosse Branch Coordinator, announcing a new committee of the La Crosse Branch of AAUW!

I have volunteered to be a Branch Coordinator for a new initiative that was formed by the Wisconsin AAUW, as an extension of the National AAUW strategic plan. As DE&I branch contact to the WI AAUW DE&I Committee, part of my job is to form a group within our branch to do the following:

· Become familiar with the AAUW DE&I Tool Kit
· Educate ourselves and our branch on diversity, equity and inclusion issues. Become a resource for programming and newsletter articles
· Use the Tool Kit and webinars to create branch and/or district programing

I would like to help you become familiar with the DE&I Tool Kit that is on AAUW.org. I’ve found it easiest to just click on the following link:

https://www.aauw.org/resources/member/governance-tools/dei-toolkit/

Please save this link for future access. I’ve found the tool kit to be a great resource but difficult to absorb all in one sitting. There is so much information and many ideas presented plus dozens of resources that I found it was overwhelming the first time I discovered it.

At our first meeting we will get to know each other, choose a day, date and time that will (hopefully) work for everyone for future gatherings (either by Zoom or
in person) and decide how we want to proceed with the tool kit. It will be great
to network on this project and learn from each other. As a group we need to determine the best time to meet and discuss how we want to proceed. If you would be interested in being part of this group, please send me your email address.

My email address: reinert.june@eagle.uwlax.edu
My address: Eagle Crest South, 622 Bennora Lee Ct., Apt 5002, La Crosse, WI 54601.
My telephone number: 608-881-0456

Let me know if mornings, afternoons or evenings are best for you. Please let me know as soon as possible as I would like to setup a meeting ASAP. I hope to hear from you and looking forward to working with you on this important adventure.

Kim Churches . . .
Our commitment to diversity is not just among the staff at the national office, or with the nationally elected board — this must be a commitment from all of our 170,000 members and advocates around the nation who believe in our vision of equity for all. That means we must hold each other accountable, we must set bold goals and be transparent about where we are and where we are going, we must be lifelong learners in reading, listening and understanding.

This is work we must all embrace.

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Women’s eNews
https://womensenews.org/

Women’s eNews reports the stories of women and girls to create a more equitable world. It is an award-winning nonprofit (501c3) news service covering issues of particular concern to women and providing women’s perspectives on public policy. Women’s eNews editors seek out freelance writers from around the world to write on every topic–politics, religion, economics, health, science, sustainability, education, sports, legislation–and commission them to write 800-word news articles for distribution each day to our subscribers and for posting on our Web site.

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