Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Matters
As we endeavor to support authentic and meaningful outdoor and environmental educational opportunities for all Oregonians, we embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion as central to our work. Our organization is listening and learning to become more equitable and inclusive in order to support the transformation of the field of environmental education. Currently, our leadership (EEAO Board of Directors and staff) is digging deep to support individual growth around diversity, equity, and inclusion.This involves developing an understanding of the structural inequalities and power and privilege dynamics that influence Oregon. Also, this means celebrating the organizations who are reflective of the communities that they represent and ensuring that we listen and learn from educators and community leaders doing work in areas like environmental justice, cultural ways of knowing, and civic education.
Through our efforts to shift our organization, we have begun applying a lens of equity and inclusion to all facets of our work. In practice, this looks like the following examples:
Shifting organizational culture
- Recognizing that compensation, including salary, of educators is an issue of equity and supporting fair compensation of EEAO staff along with strongly encouraging other organizations to do the same.
- Rethinking hiring processes and vendor selection.
- Creating a clear board of directors recruitment process that values diversity of perspective and experience
- Taking time to reflect on current culture and strategize how to shift culture to value all perspectives
- Defining organizational values (completed summer 2018)
Opening planning and strategy processes to be more inclusive and transparent
- Opening action teams and planning groups to community members beyond staff and board members
- Giving community members and community organizations active roles in designing and planning our annual conference with staff and board members serving in a supportive role
- Restructuring our work to be community-centered and responsive
- Applying an equity lens to our strategic planning process and getting feedback from members throughout the process
- Creating an equity policy
Providing space for learning and growth
- Using more inclusive language when opening meetings, such as acknowledging ancestral lands, and evolving our language and approach as we learn more
We recognize that we are still at the beginning stages of this journey, and that this vital work is never finished. Our efforts will continue to evolve as we engage in dialogue and reflection around our vision for a more equitable future.