Creating a community of belonging is an intentional endeavor.
Understanding the terms that comprise DEIA=B provides a solid framework for faith communities.
Diversity encompasses all the ways in which people of the same faith and belief system can differ, including but not limited to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, disability, mental health, or national origin.
- Diversity is more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. It’s a set of conscious practices that seek to understand and appreciate the interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment.
Equity ensures everyone has support and access to the resources they need to flourish, identifying and eliminating barriers that have prevented the full participation of communities most impacted by systemic oppression.
- Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions and systems, as well as in the distribution of resources. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society and institutions.
- Equity differs from equality. Equality refers to treating everyone the same but does not necessarily lead to equitable outcomes because diverse communities have diverse needs and have faced varying obstacles and inequities.
Inclusion requires that people of all backgrounds, identities, abilities, perspectives, and beliefs have an equal opportunity to belong, achieve, and contribute to their communities. An inclusive institution promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; wherein all people are respected for their inherent worth, dignity, talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living.
Accessibility is the design, construction, development and maintenance of facilities, information and communication technology, programs, and services so all people, including people with disabilities, can fully and independently engage with them.
Belonging is a human need. When we belong, we are seen for the whole of who we are. We are contributors to the community, not recipients of others’ intentions. We are known, valued, respected, and supported. A community of belonging is the most important outcome we can achieve.