National Diversity Week promises a bright future for equity at Emory

Emory celebrated National Diversity Week October 3-9 with a variety of events and programs. From a diversity fair to drag shows, the week offered something for everyone.

The celebration began with a keynote address by Carol Henderson — Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer and Advisor to the President — entitled “The Building Blocks of Transformation.” She began by quoting Arthur Chan, one of the leaders in implementing diversity, equity and inclusion principles in organizations: “Diversity is a fact. Equity is a choice. Inclusion is an action. Belonging is a result.”

During the speech, Henderson recognized the strides Emory has made in promoting the “JEDI” principles of equity, equity, diversity and inclusion. Initiatives range from the students Properties project to the women in leadership programs have pushed Emory to become an even more welcoming place for people from all backgrounds. As a result of campus-wide engagement, the university recently won the HEED Award by INSIGHT to Diversity Magazine, a national award recognizing colleges and universities that demonstrate outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Emory’s DEI pillars are climate and culture; professional development, education and awareness-raising; and accountability. Looking ahead, Henderson said faculty, staff and students can expect even more programs and initiatives in these areas. She also encouraged everyone to think about how they can become part of creating a more inclusive environment and stressed the importance of working with more diverse providers of goods and services as an easy way to start work in any department on campus.

“We are working to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are built into our campus ethos,” said Henderson. “It’s not a set-aside or an add-on; This is how we do our business.”

Later in the week, on October 6, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office hosted a half-day retreat for those committed to DEI work on campus or serving in DEI positions. The retreat comprised five areas:

  1. Communicating the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) survey results.: During the 2021-22 academic year, Emory staff and students had the opportunity to participate in a climate survey to assess how people experience the campus environment. The results of this survey, which will be published in early 2023, will feed into DEI’s strategic goals across campus.
  2. Responding to crisis communications related to DEI issues: Luke Anderson, Emory’s new Vice President of Communications and Marketing, led attendees through a crisis communications case study. His advice to everyone is: When it comes to crises, inner alignment is key, as is leading with empathy and compassion.
  3. Access to DEI data from the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support: Justin Shepherd and Alex Chin guided participants through the search and interpretation of DEI data. They shared demographics of the current first-graders class, including ethnicity, gender and race. The results of the NACCC survey are also uploaded to this system to inform strategic planning.
  4. Participation in DEI learning modules: Melody Johnson, who is she Director of Diversity and Inclusion Education and Outreach, outlined online courses available to Emory University faculty and staff on DiversityEdu. Emory currently offers courses on communicating for inclusion, addressing diversity and the influence of unconscious bias through the platform. The diversity and inclusion education and outreach website will be online in January 2023. For the time being, the courses are available upon request from the department.
  5. Build better human resources: Theresa Milazzo, vice president of human resources at Emory University, shared that the university’s human resources department will participate in the above courses DiversityEdu. She also noted that a new DEI competency will be added to the performance management system for this year.

Henderson and Nicole Ingram, director of programs and special initiatives at the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said they plan to celebrate National Diversity Week annually with the Diversity Fair and Retreat, both of which are central to the celebration.

“Celebrating National Diversity Week allowed us to continue building an inclusive community,” said Ingram. “This week provided opportunities to celebrate and highlight the many identity groups of the Emory community that are enshrined in our DEI principles.”

Connect faculty and staff

The university is new Employee Resource Groups both hosted programs during National Diversity Week.

On Monday afternoon, the Emory Black Employee Network (EBEN) hosted two events. On Monday, EBEN, in partnership with the Emory Votes Initiative (EVI), the Department of Political Science and the Emory Center for Ethics, hosted a screening of the 2016 documentary film “13th.” The film chronicles the history of the 13thth Amendment to the Constitution that outlawed slavery in the United States. The film connects the dots between the passage of the 13thth Changing and increasing incarceration rates and expanding modern prisons.

Also on Monday, the Emory Pride Employee Network (EPEN) hosted a panel discussion on transgender identity and campus allies. The group also took part in the annual Pride March in Atlanta on October 9th.

On Thursday, EBEN teamed up again with EVI, as well as the Emory chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Georgia NAACP and EPEN for a panel discussion on voting.

Lead with pride

Dozens of Emory students and staff joined together in the annual Atlanta Pride Parade. This year, students, along with staff from Emory Healthcare and Emory University, marched in the parade with signs promoting LGBTQ+ rights.

The university provided breakfast and transportation for faculty, staff and students who wished to participate in the parade. One group met on the Atlanta campus and rode buses to Emory Midtown Hospital, where they joined the Emory Healthcare group and participated in the parade.

Emory Healthcare attendees wore t-shirts that read, “We are proud of the care we provide.” Emory buses were draped in rainbows and carried the same message. Those from the university wore shirts with the Cox Hall clock tower, the Emory Bridge over Clifton Road and the message “Together in Pride”, which is also featured on light pole banners across campus.

A sea of ​​rainbow flags waved in the breeze along Peachtree Street as members of the Emory community banded together to celebrate LGBT History Month.

“After two years of canceled Atlanta Prides due to COVID-19, Emory returned to the parade with our largest and most enthusiastic contingent since our first march in 2009,” said Danielle Bruce-Steele, director of the Office of LGBT Life. “We are thrilled to see so many community members from Emory University and Emory Healthcare coming together to celebrate and support one another.”

Speaking of the impact of National Diversity Week, Ingram added, “I hope the Emory community will take the time to understand the theme of the week, which was ‘The Inclusion Equation – Where Inclusion Meets Belonging’. We have learned that inclusion is the action necessary to take us to the next level. We must be accountable for our actions to successfully adopt an associated mindset.”

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