Recently, I attended the workshop Equity 101 as part of the ULead and Learning to Lead programs. This is a good workshop for learning about Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) for the first time, and how we can navigate space together, as leaders.
“Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is so important in leadership because people come from all walks of life with various identities and experiences, and it is important to recognize everyone’s individualities and differences in a space. For me, leadership is about pushing people to be the best version of themselves and finding ways to collaborate with others to create meaningful change. However, in order to do that, we need to recognize that people come from different places depending on which identities they hold. EDI works to accept and acknowledge people’s different truths and work to challenge the current systemic and institutional barriers that operate to keep certain bodies out of particular spaces, preventing them from having their voices heard and being able to feel safe within an environment.” – Jamie, Leading Together 2019 Chair
Here are some important things I learned from Equity 101:
What is equity?
Equity begins with recognizing that:
- not everyone is treated equally or has the same access to resources
- everyone has a unique experience of the world
- there are systemic barriers that prevents everyone from being treated equally
- there are social, economic and historic differences between people
Equity works towards challenging, reducing and eliminating systemic barriers and prioritizes creating equal outcomes for everyone.
Challenge the idea, not the person
When discussing equity, there may be some hot debate and disagreement that arises, and that’s okay. But it is important to remember that although I may disagree with someone’s idea, or someone may disagree with mine, it is not a matter of questioning each other’s worth. Disagreement should be thoughtful and deep, but it should also be respectful and compassionate.
Equity 101 was a great introduction to learning about Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) but it doesn’t just stop there. It’s a constant practice of:
- learning and unlearning
- questioning of assumptions, biases, and what is “normal”
- considering other perspectives
- action, not just reflection
And it may sound like a lot of work, but I think it’s just another way to think about growing up. It’s another way to think about how I navigate the spaces I’m in, while being considerate that there I share this space with others too, and that we’re all navigating this space together.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) can be a big topic to explore and it doesn’t have to be done alone because we have a lot to learn from each other. Here’s a list of some resources on and off campus:
- Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office
- Accessibility Services
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Office
- Family Care Office
- First Nations Office
- My SSP app
- Multi-Faith Office
- Sexual & Gender Diversity Office
- Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre 416-978-2266
- Good 2 Talk 1-888-925-5454
- Student Life – Diversity and Inclusivity Training: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Workshops by request:
- Understanding & Responding to Microaggressions
- Creating Inclusive Environments
- Allyship vs Solidarity
- Introduction to Anti-Oppressive Practices (AOP)
- Event Planning with an Inclusion Lens
- Workshops by request:
- Office hours: by appointment email@example.com
- CLNx (Leadership, Mentorship & Clubs St. George Calendar) to register for Learning to Lead and ULead workshops such as Equity 101