Equity Lens Conversation Kit
Download conversation kits here, or request paper copies from Deborah Butler: email@example.com
So What is an Equity Lens, Anyway?
We’re glad you asked!
Lane’s Equity Lens will be used to reassess systems and decision-making to achieve access, equity, and inclusion on a college-wide level. Identifying inequities and biases within our community is an important step toward achieving our Diversity core value. Lane is committed to creating a respectful, inclusive, and accessible working and learning environment for all students and employees. We recognize that inequities must be addressed at the individual, institutional, and systemic levels in order to achieve a truly inclusive and welcoming community. Identifying disparate treatment within our community will allow the college to “see” ourselves in new ways—through the equity lens.
The terms we use to describe the equity lens are part of a movement toward the more descriptive, aspirational ideals of access, equity, and inclusion and away from vague, diversity-focused language. Lane is is good company with the many other educational institutions and public agencies that have chosen this model, including 4J and Bethel school districts, Oregon Department of Education, Multnomah County, PSU, the State of Oregon, and many others. Lane will be the first community college in the country to create an equity lens.
How Will the Equity Lens Affect Me?
There are two major reasons to pay close attention to LCC Equity Lens work:
First, the equity lens project is an effort to identify and understand inequities in opportunities and outcomes in our community. If you believe you’ve experienced or witnessed bias in any form at the college, we want to be sure that your needs can be addressed.
Second, the LCC Equity Lens will have a significant impact on all areas of the college in the months and years ahead. Learning more about the concept of the lens will help you apply it more effectively within your work area.
While many universities and K-12 districts have adopted the equity lens concept, LCC will be the first community college in the country to develop one.
We invite you to learn more about equity lenses and their application at other institutions and organizations. Please check out this conversation kit website for much more information.
On the conversation kit website, you’ll find:
guiding questions and a stakeholder list drafted by Diversity Council in the initial stages of LCC Equity Lens work, information about Phil Tajitsu Nash, an external facilitator who is assisting us with this work and will be facilitating focused group forums in October, 2017, and glossaries, articles and resources to help you explore the equity lens concept.
Through a framework of social justice, the Equity Lens helps us to acknowledge the existence and causes of systemic inequity at Lane. It provides opportunities for intentional healing, reconciliation, and empowerment. Honest, transparent, and consistent use of this lens enables the campus to create a culture of accountability and empower all members of our community.
A Framework for Action
Our equity lens work will help us develop a set of principles that sustain the institution in a way that ensures access, equity, and inclusion at all levels. To accomplish this, our work will focus on:
- Impacts of actions and decision-making
- Illuminating and alleviating disparities experienced by underserved and underrepresented groups
- Expanding opportunities
- Transforming the community through healing and nurturing
- Recognizing and bridging gaps of understanding and communication
- Facilitating inclusive collaboration
- Empowering all members of the college community to participate in this work
- Encouraging personal and professional growth for all members of the community
- Ensuring accountability in the consistent implementation of the lens
- Building inquiry and assessment into all college systems at every level
- Expanding beyond traditional diversity-work-stakeholders to include other voices and other communities
- Increasing recruitment and retention of staff and students who are supportive of equity lens work
- Developing a set of principles that sustain the institution in a way that ensures access, equity, and inclusion at all levels
Meet the Team
Creation of the LCC Equity Lens is intended to be a collaborative and inclusive process, capturing the experience of as many community members as possible. Initial framework of the LCC Equity Lens has been led by current members of Diversity Council, with the assistance of many stakeholders across campus who participated in visioning and work sessions throughout Spring, 2016.
Access ensures that individuals from a broad range of backgrounds can gain access to public institutions, spaces, and services, and have full participation in political, social, economic, and cultural life.
Equality means that we offer the same exact opportunities and supports to everyone. This approach assumes that all people are all starting from the same place with the same needs, and that the same opportunities and support will allow each of them to reach comparable outcomes. Given the current historical realities based on racial, gender, socioeconomic, and political inequities, unfortunately, this is not the case.
Equity is more messy and complex. It is not “one size fits all.” It asks us to understand where individuals actually are and what their specific needs may be. Then, it asks us to provide
opportunities and support that meet those specific needs, so that each person can follow
their own path toward a full and happy life. Unlike equality, equity strives to ensure that everyone has access to comparable outcomes regardless of their starting point.
Inclusion is the degree to which a group, institution, or organization makes genuine space for individuals from all backgrounds to fully participate in decision-making processes and social planning.
Intersectionality is a term coined by American civil rights advocate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in the late 1980’s. The term is used to describe the ways in which a person’s multiple social identities (including gender, race, class, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality) intersect and overlap to magnify or otherwise change the way that societal forms of oppressions (including sexism, racism, classism, bigotry, and homophobia) impact that person.