In February, we honored Black History Month and all our friends in underrepresented and marginalized communities with the topic on Equity. With a topic this big, we upped the ante and invited six speakers to speak from the heart for 5 minutes or less. From good food breaking down barriers to disabilities, we learned what it means to be equitable under different lenses.
First up, was Jeanie Y. Chang from Your Change Provider to speak on Embracing Cultural Confidence, a framework she created that intersects mental health, resilience, identity, and mindfulness. Cultural confidence is a state of being and a practice that promotes healthy emotionality. Boosting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices plays a role, too. Jeanie says, “It’s about how well you balance life stressors with your own resilience. It’s about being proactive.” Check out the video to learn how you can embrace cultural confidence!
Then, Maggie Kane from A Place at the Table talked about how good food can break down barriers. A Place at the Table is a pay-what-you-can cafe in Raleigh, where the community can volunteer in the cafe, receive a free meal from money others donated, or just simply enjoy a meal at the price they can afford! Touching on the subject of equity, Maggie said that “no matter who you are or where you come from, you choose what you want.” Learn more about how their cafe helps create equity in the replay.
Next up, was Dr. Stephanie Hawkins from RTI International to speak on racial justice and equity. As Dr. Hawkins said, “You have to center equity, and this requires structural change.” Focusing on racial equity is critical if we want to “innovate and be responsive to the needs of the communities.” Check out the video to learn more about what Dr. Stephanie Hawkins believes equity to be.
Then, Jennifer Pfaltzgraff from The Arc of the Triangle talked about creating equity for the disabled population. The Arc of the Triangle strives to remove barriers and create opportunities for people, regardless of their ability. According to Jennifer, “It’s about creating normalcy [around people with a disability]. This will create equity.”Jennifer encouraged us to get involved and learn more, because it makes things better for our community. Watch here to learn more about what we can do.
Our penultimate speaker, Dr. Constance A. Lindsay from UNC Chapel Hill School of Education, spoke on diversity in education. Did you know 80% of the teacher workforce is white? It has also been proven that students excel if the teacher looks like them. What does this mean for BIPOC students? The teaching profession at-large is already under many challenges, and as Dr. Lindsay says, “We’d be hard-pressed to get more people in the classroom without addressing pay… This is our opportunity to create a high-quality and diverse teacher workforce that we need.” Learn more in the video here.
Last but not least, Johnny Hackett Jr. from #BlackDollarNC closed us out with an unconventional take on the subject of equity. He opened with this line: “I do not believe we can have true equity. This newfound belief comes from our current state of the world.” However, Johnny also talked a lot about how people in the Triangle seem to be working towards it. He says that we need to show people what true equity is through our leadership. And he also left us off with advice to “think fairly for people you’re making decisions for.” Check out his chat here.
Ready for more RTP180? Join us for next month’s topic on UX! RSVP here.