Nilofer Ali, Resources Manager
This is the first in a series of articles outlining some of the elements of diversity, equity, and inclusion in general, and specifically in the educational publishing and ed tech space.
I was asked recently what DEI stands for, and I know that even the terms “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion” can feel nebulous and abstract. I thought I’d start off this series with some definitions and explanations of how we at Westchester define these terms.
But first, why are definitions important? Common understanding of terminology helps ensure we’re on the same page, by giving us common language with which to have these conversations. In addition, articulating our understanding of these terms helps guide our planning.
Diversity: The presence of many voices and perspectives enriches the world for all of us.
We welcome people of every race, color, culture, religion, belief system, gender identity, gender expression, age, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, citizenship, education, ability, health, neurotype, marital/parental status, socio-economic background, sexual orientation, military status, and any whose unique identities and differences are not named here.
Equity: Ensuring that everyone has access to the same outcomes, accommodating for biases and obstacles that exist for many but that do not exist for others.
We strive to provide individuals with the opportunities and tools to succeed. We assume that everyone has a different background, different strengths, and different challenges, and we develop policies and practices that honor people where they are while facilitating growth. This approach means working with people to understand and identify their areas of strength and potential growth; it also means identifying barriers to access and developing policies that remove those barriers.
Inclusion: Creating a culture where all feel like they can belong and where the fullness of who they are is valued.
When people know they can show up expressing their cultures, their languages, and their experiences and be accepted and valued, they experience inclusion. When people know their voices are heard and their perspectives are valued, they feel secure in sharing them. We strive to listen to every stakeholder, from client, to staff, to freelance resource, to the end user of the products we make. We understand that people bring different experiences, different ways of doing things, different worldviews and ideas, and we value each of those as enriching the work we do.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be unpacking each of these terms and exploring what they look like in real life. I invite you to share with us your experiences with diversity, equity, and/or inclusion.