What is DEI?
Diversity is the presence of the continuum of differences between human beings within a given setting. This includes, but is not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs. A diverse group, community, or organization is one in which a variety of social and cultural characteristics exist.
Equity is the active acknowledgment that everyone has different needs, and that we assure that everyone has access to the same treatment, opportunities, and advancement, even if that means individuals require individualized support. Equity also requires that we identify and eliminate barriers that prevent the full participation of individuals/groups.
Inclusion refers to how people with different identities feel as part of the larger group and the quality of their experience. Inclusion doesn’t naturally result from diversity, and in reality, you can have a diverse team of talent but that doesn’t mean that everyone feels welcome or valued.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are mutually reinforcing principles within an organization. A focus on diversity alone is insufficient because an employee’s sense of belonging and experience of fairness is critically important.
Belonging is one’s feeling of physical, emotional and psychological safety. It is that indescribable feeling of being 100% welcome. Belonging speaks to being respected at a basic level, but also the right to co-create. Think of how many times “equity” has been equated with “access” and now think of access without belonging.
Dignity is something we are born with. It is the universal concept that describes worth inherent in every human person. You don’t have to do anything to deserve dignity and we all have a role in taking personal responsibility for ensuring the dignity of ourselves and our peers is protected. Preserving and honoring dignity is fundamental to the workplace culture we stand for as an organization.
Justice is the repairing and restoring of individuals harmed by a dignity violation. It is gratefully owning our behavior – intentional or not – and restoring the dignity to the individual that suffered the harm. Things will be said, actions taken, that intentionally or accidentally, violated the dignity of another. If we stand for the concepts of Belonging and Dignity, then the concept of Justice requires from us the commitment to learning how these violations can be avoided, and when they do happen, righting the wrong.
At CAIU we are actively defining how we can better reflect a safe, supportive environment for all through our attention to diversity, equity and inclusion, and in particular through building our collective feeling of belonging through a culture of dignity, and a commitment to justice.