by Jai Simpson-Joseph | April 29, 2020
Inclusion is an essential value during this pandemic time in our world.
Inclusion is the valuing of the perspectives and contributions of all people and ensuring a safe, affirming, respectful and responsive environment. A guiding principle for co-existence in our society, it is uniquely profound at this moment in time.
Global Village Project is a voice for equity and inclusion in our commitment to the journey of young women from around the world who come as refugees to this country – who join GVP, become a part of, and help to form community. One caring loving community.
Now, this season of global crisis is also an opportunity for all of us as One GVP Community to be an amplified voice for diversity, equity and inclusion, to continue to expand our loving practices in the world beyond our village. There are profound and beautiful examples of kindnesses that we read about, observe, or give and receive ourselves: people helping each other, bridging distance to connect. The power of diversity defined is indeed who we each are – as diverse as the concept of each of us. While diversity is often spoken of in terms of race or ethnicity, it includes a spectrum as “diverse” as can be imagined, that which reflects each of us as individuals.
Still, it is equally important to understand the nature of diversity, equity and inclusion as it pertains to the particular challenges faced by many in our society. Marginalized people, in a society where we all live in the same country and world, nonetheless have vastly different experiences.
To help us think through the nature of these experiences, Intersectionality is a term that is increasingly used in our world today.
It is a critical theory that originated in 1989 by American civil rights advocate and scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Esq. to describe overlapping or intersecting social identities – the phenomenon that multiple identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the singular identities. Identities that can intersect include gender, race, social class, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, age, mental disability, physical disability, mental illness and physical illness, as well as others. Intersectionality recognizes these intersecting identities and the related systems of oppression that occur based upon them. The mutuality of vulnerability can in fact, impact us all.
We can utilize the understanding of this phenomenon to uplift our collective journey for all identities. In a season such as now, crisis and challenge can bring out the best in us, our loving humanity, and it can bring to the forefront the painful challenges and inequities that are also ours, all of ours, to work through together as a society. Thus, when we hear emerging data from the CDC and states around the country that the Coronavirus is disproportionately impacting people of color, for example, the commitment to inclusion calls all of us as a community to stand together in combating this virus and doing our best to support and protect all.
The principles and practices of diversity, equity and inclusion are the means by which we as humans can ultimately heal, grow and flourish. Recognizing that each person’s truth and journey may be different, but that, as this pandemic season can teach us, we are all in this together.
As always, we welcome your insights and questions regarding DEI, GVP’s journey, and more. We invite you to reach out to Transformation Management and DEI Specialist Jai Simpson-Joseph, Esq., at [email protected] with any feedback.