JEDI

JEDI


Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force

Gathering these resources is a collaborative effort by dedicated staff members on the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Taskforce at Kids & Families Together. The purpose in sharing this information and research is to ensure everyone feels welcome. We are making ongoing and intentional efforts to ensure that this work is at the forefront of all we do here at Kids & Families Together. In sharing these resources, our hope is that we will cultivate and create an equitable and inclusive space for all staff, clients and families we love and serve.

Please click here for our JEDI statement.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES
As imagined by Kids & Families Together’s JEDI Task Force: Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

LISTEN
This principle is about understanding each individual and what value they are expecting to gain from the provided service as well as understanding their experience.

START WHERE YOU ARE
This principle dictates being objective, acceptance without judgment and recognizing what current successful systems can be kept when initiating a change; meeting them where they are in their process of change.

CHECK-IN WITH FEEDBACK
This principle encourages working in smaller, more manageable steps to maintain focus on each effort.

PROMOTE RESPECT & VISABILITY
This principle requires communication between all parties so that each individual can feel that their requirements and needs, are being acknowledged. This includes communication between community partners so that there is respect, transparency, visibility and a sense of urgency to the services required.

KEEP IT SIMPLE & PRACTICAL
This principle is applied by ensuring that every process and resource brings value to the overall goal. It promotes the philosophy of keeping things simple so that things can be done effectively with less conflict and more collaboration.

BE AUTHENTIC

Put simply, authenticity means you’re true to your own personality, values, and spirit, regardless of the pressure that you’re under to act otherwise. You’re honest with yourself and with others, and you take responsibility for your mistakes. Your values, ideals, and actions align.

Click here for Kids & Families Together’s Guiding Principles

Please select a category to view information:

 Here are some common terms/labels with definitions and information for which may be the best choice to use;

  • BIPOC or POC
  • Black or African American
  • Indigenous, Native American, or American Indian
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Chicano/a
  • POC or BIPOC
  • POC – which stands for “people of color,” is a general umbrella term that collectively refers to all people of color — anyone who isn’t white.
  • BIPOC – “which stands for “Black, Indigenous, and people of color,” is person-first language. It enables a shift away from terms like “marginalized” and “minority.”
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Black or African American

  • Black – “generally describes a person of African or Caribbean descent”.
  • African American – a person of African descent in the US.
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Indigenous, Native American, or American Indian

  • Indigenous refers to those peoples with pre-existing sovereignty who were living together as a community prior to contact with settler populations, that were most often – though not exclusively – Europeans. Indigenous is the most inclusive term, as there are Indigenous peoples on every continent throughout the world – such as the Sami in Sweden, the First Nations in Canada, Mayas in Mexico and Guatemala, and the Ainu in Japan – fighting to remain culturally intact on their land bases. Indigenous Peoples refers to a group of Indigenous peoples with a shared national identity, such as “Navajo” or “Sami,” and is the equivalent of saying “the American people.”
  • Native American and American Indian are terms used to refer to peoples living within what is now the United States prior to European contact. American Indian has a specific legal context because the branch of law, Federal Indian Law, uses this terminology. American Indian is also used by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget through the U.S. Census Bureau. Whenever possible, it is best to use the name of an individual’s particular Indigenous community or nation of people; for example, “Tongva,”  “Tataviam” and “Chumash” are the Indigenous Peoples of the Los Angeles area, and they are also “American Indian,” “Native American,” and “Indigenous.” (3)
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Hispanic, Latino/a, or Chicano/a

  • Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish which includes Spain but excludes Brazil. (4)
  • Latino or Latina is people from Latin America which includes Brazil but excludes Spain. (4)
  • Gender neutral can be either Latinx or Lantine. Pronounciations: Latinx  (lah–teen–ex) and Latine (lah-tee-neh). Latinx is more commonly known and used, however Latine follows the same speech pattern as Latino/a and is easier to say for many Spanish speakers.
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  • Chicano, Chicana, or Chicanx – American of Mexican descent, (O - masculine, A - feminine or X -gender neutral.
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So, how do I know which one to use or if I should even ask?

First, we hope that the definitions make it easier to know which term is likely the choice for a particular setting, but the best way to be sure is to ask. Often when talking in small groups it will be appropriate to be more specific and reflect the people who are in the group. If you are unsure about whether to ask about how someone identifies, think about why you are asking? Being curious about someone’s identity is perfectly fine, but how and when you ask it has an impact on people. Why do you need to know this information in this particular moment? Asking yourself why you’re doing it before questioning someone about their background may help you understand your motives. If their identity is relevant to the conversation, or perhaps you’re at the point in your relationship where the question is appropriate, then it’s fine. If these conversations are starting from a genuine place, your love and understanding should come across.

National Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Awareness Day

MMIW = Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women also Missing and Murdered Native/Indigenous Women and Girls. This day was created to bring attention to the high incidence and under-reporting of Indigenous women and girls who go missing.

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Additional Resources

Body Positivity - How does this fit in with diversity and inclusion?

“Body positivity originates from the fat acceptance movement from the 1960s,” says Chelsea Kronengold, the manager of communications at the National Eating Disorders Association. “The body positive movement was created by and for people in marginalized bodies, particularly fat, Black, queer, and disabled bodies.” This movement was rooted in social justice; it birthed organizations like The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, a non-profit fat rights organization that fought and continues to fight against societal anti-fat bias, fatphobia, and systemic fat oppression.

The Fragility of Body Positivity

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What is a weight neutral space?

A weight neutral space "includes no diet or weight loss talk, no negative body talk, no fashion magazines, no recommendations of weight loss as a cure for physical health issues or for stigma, etc. These are all important things that are critical in creating spaces that don’t perpetuate oppression or eating disorders." To learn more, click here.

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Additional Resources

Harlem Renaissance, 1918-Mid 1930's

The Harlem Renaissance encompassed poetry and prose, painting and sculpture, jazz and swing, opera and dance. What united these diverse art forms was their realistic presentation of what it meant to be black in America, what writer Langston Hughes called an “expression of our individual dark-skinned selves,” as well as a new militancy in asserting their civil and political rights. Read more here.

Black History Month 

Origins of Black History Month- “Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson is credited with creating Black History Month. According to Daryl Michael Scott, a history professor at Howard University, Woodson got the idea in 1915 after attending a celebration in Illinois for the 50th anniversary of the 13th Amendment.

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Tuskegee Study

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment is one of the most famous examples of unethical research. The study, funded by the federal government from 1932-1972, looked at the effects of untreated syphilis. In order to do this, a number of Black men in Alabama who had syphilis were misinformed about their illness. They were told they had “bad blood” (which was sometimes a euphemism for syphilis, though not always) and that the government was offering special free treatments for the condition.

For more information, click here

Medical System

“A lingering mistrust of the medical system makes some Black Americans more hesitant to sign up for COVID-19 vaccines. It has played out in early data that show a stark disparity in whom is getting shots in this country — more than 60% going to white people, and less than 6% to African Americans. The mistrust is rooted in history, including the infamous U.S. study of syphilis that left Black men in Tuskegee, Ala., to suffer from the disease.” https://www.npr.org/2021/02/16/967011614/in-tuskegee-painful-history-shadows-efforts-to-vaccinate-african-americans

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Scientific Figures

There are so many Black scientists, inventors etc., who have had an impact on our history and many more who are still making history. A single month is not enough time to share all the amazing people we want to share. Hopefully we can be part of a cultural shift towards more inclusion both in historical reporting of events but also in creating spaces that truly encourage people to keep exploring and joining the scientific fields. The more that young kids see people who look like them in science and medicine, the more they will aspire to these same fields.

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Chicano Movement

By now, the bare-bones story of the Chicano Movement is well known: Brave, determined men like César Chavez and Sal Castro in California 50 years ago pushed society to recognize the civil rights of Latinos and opened new opportunities in politics and education. A new book, however, demonstrates that El Movimiento was much more diverse and dynamic than the casual history recounts. “Rewriting the Chicano Movement: New Histories of Mexican American Activism in the Civil Rights Era” (The University of Arizona Press, 2021), edited by UC Santa Barbara scholars Mario T. García(link is external) and Ellen McCracken(link is external), brings a fresh depth and inclusionary take on the decades-long struggle. To read more, click here.

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Stonewall Riots, June 1969

The Stonewall Inn, a tavern in Greenwich Village NYC, was known as a safe space for the LGBT community, however in June 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn. The LGBT community responded with six days of riots and uprising.  One year later, in June 1970, the very first Pride march occurred in NYC.

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Memorial Day

Did you know? Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

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African American Music Appreciation Month

Since 1979, the United States has set aside the month of June to appreciate the musical contributions of its African-American musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters. 

Inspired to celebrate an enduring art form, Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams pursued creating Black Music Month. Their efforts were backed up by generations of artists whose talents and skill built a foundation of musical ingenuity in America. 

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Alvin Ailey

American dancer, Choreographer, and founder of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

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Cesar Chavez, American Civil Rights Leader, March 31, 1927 - April 23, 1993

A true American hero, Cesar Chavez was a civil rights, Latino and farm labor leader; a genuinely religious and spiritual figure; a community organizer and social entrepreneur; a champion of militant nonviolent social change; and a crusader for the environment and consumer rights. To read more, click here.

Amanda Gorman, Wordsmith. Change-maker. National Youth Poet Laureate

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Nia Dennis, UCLA Gymnast

Nia Dennis is a decorated and accomplished collegiate gymnast and is a senior on the UCLA gymnastics team. For the 2021 season, Nia debuted her floor routine, which plays a tribute to Black culture. Excerpts from Dennis:

Viral floor routine #Blackexcellence

Learn more about Black gymnasts 

James Kanati Allen, First U.S. Black Male Gymnast in Olympics

“James Kanati Allen of Los Angeles, who competed in eight events at the 1968 Olympics and went on to earn a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Washington, was described as “5/8 Cherokee” in obituaries after his Dec. 31, 2011 death. But Allen had mixed race parents who both were part black, according to his brother, Ramon Eric Allen, former police chief of Compton, California. 

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Martin Luther King Jr.,

Increase your own knowledge

When talking to kids about MLK, it is important to include that he is not just a historical figure; his legacy is kept alive by the many people continuing his fight for justice and equality today. Each year on Martin Luthor King Jr day we see lots of quotes and posts praising him. An important part of his legacy is recognizing that he was not universally accepted at the time and how hard he had to work to make a difference. As Ijeoma Oluo said; “This holiday has turned into talking about how peaceful he was, how loving he was, how kind he was in a way to encourage black Americans to be more passive in their activism,” Oluo said. “I think we need to remember who he actually was and what he actually said instead of just what suits the powers that be for us to talk about.” she sees parallels between criticisms of King in his day and criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement these days: that King “was too demanding, that he was inciting violence, that he was asking for too much.”

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Maya Angelou, 1928-2014. American poet, writer, activist

An acclaimed American poet, storyteller, activist, and autobiographer, Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri. Angelou had a broad career as a singer, dancer, actress, composer, and Hollywood’s first female black director, but became most famous as a writer, editor, essayist, playwright, and poet. As a civil rights activist, Angelou worked for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. She was also an educator and served as the Reynolds professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

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Shirley Chisholm, 1924-2005

Excerpts from article By Debra Michals, PhD | 2015

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was the first African American woman in Congress (1968) and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties (1972). For more information, click here.

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Frank Kameny, Gay Rights Activist and Pioneer, 1925-2011

Frank Kameny was a Jewish astronomer who was fired from his job at the United States Army Map Service in the mid 1950’s for refusing to identify his sexual orientation.  He was the first person to implement a civil rights case based on sexual orientation, and in 1965 he organized the first gay and lesbian demonstration in front of the White House.  In 1971 he was known as the first openly gay person to be a congressional candidate.  He actively fought for equal rights prior to the Stonewall Riots in 1969 that continued the movement. (He’s also this month’s Google Doodle!)

https://www.queerportraits.com/bio/kameny

Harriet Tubman, Abolitionist. Civil War Advisor. Activist, 1822-1913

"Harriet Tubman was born Araminta “Minty” Ross around 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland. She was born into slavery, a middle child among nine siblings, and grew up with her parents who were enslaved. Her mother was owned by the Brodess family, who hired out Harriet to provide childcare, perform field work, and check on muskrat traps. As a child she experienced a head injury that lead to a lifetime of seizures, pain, and visions. She married John Tubman, a free Black man, and changed her name to Harriet Tubman. At age 27 she escaped to Philadelphia on her own traveling mostly at night."

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Rosie the Riveter

“The iconic image of Rosie the Riveter was explicitly aimed to change public opinion about women’s work, and the underlying theme of the campaign was to show that the social change required to bring women into the workforce was both a patriotic responsibility for women, and an opportunity for employers to support the war economy. In movies, newspapers, posters, photographs and articles, the Rosie the Riveter campaign stressed the patriotic need for women to enter the workforce and Rosie encouraged women to apply for industrial jobs they may not have previously considered.” For more information, click here. 

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Professor’s Perspective:

Cultural Competence vs. Cultural Humility

“Perhaps one of the gravest assumptions we can make in the pursuit of inclusion is to believe that we have the ability to achieve real, and broadly represented, cultural competence. For decades those of us committed to advancing social justice and working toward the development of a society where all people are treated with dignity and respect, have pursued efforts towards the attainment of cultural competence. We’ve taught this in our classes and shared it in our communities. This notion, that through education we can truly understand the lived experience of our neighbor, has proven problematic. It’s flawed. In teaching cultural competence, we make the assumption it’s possible to fully understand the vast and diverse array of experiences of all of those with whom we come in contact. Perhaps we can learn more, and get partially there, but in teaching this to our students and our communities, our friends and our families, we are setting up a false expectation that competence is an end goal which is fully attainable and concrete. Complete and thorough cultural competence is not attainable. How many among us even fully understand our own lived experience?

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Culture Defined

The word “culture” means the “integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group.”

Learning about Our Own Culture

We view our world through our own cultural lens. This lens affects how we see ourselves and how we see others. It also has a significant impact on the choices we make and the paths we take in our lives.

Learning how cultural influences have molded your own life opens a window of self-awareness that allows you to honestly look at how your preferences, bias, and perceptions play a part in your views of and interactions with people of other cultures.

Building your Cultural Humility

To practice cultural humility, you must have the following:

  • Self-Awareness including your cultural and social economic lens, biases, style preferences.
  • Understanding of the Impact Your Cultural Lens has on your role, communication style, and perceptions.
  • Commitment to Learning more about the culture of interest and respecting families as the primary source for defining needs and priorities.
  • Cross Cultural Communication Skills and an increase in your sensitivity to alienating behaviors.
  • Flexibility, be prepared to work with children and families in a culturally diverse and at times incompetent world.

Learning about the Cultures of Others

How can you learn about the unique nature, strengths and experience of the child? How can you make sure that you individualize the care you provide to the child? You can learn about their culture by:

  • Studying and reading about the culture.
  • Talking and working with individuals from the culture.
  • Participating in the daily life of the culture.
  • Learning their language.
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Trans-Racial Parenting

Trans-racial resource families consist of children of one race or culture being raised by parents of a different race or culture. Trans-racial families are considered families of color. White parents of children of color have the responsibility to help their children define themselves as a member of their own genetic racial community. By connecting your children to their own race and culture, they will learn to grow in their roots while incorporating what they are learning from you about their identity in a trans-racial home.

Questions and tasks for multi-cultural parenting

It is important to evaluate your own beliefs about other cultures and other races before parenting trans-racially. Every person has biases, and uncovering them is a lesson in self-awareness and an opportunity for personal growth.

    Questions to ask yourself                                                                                   Tasks

How many friends do you have of another race or culture? Seek out mentors within your child’s culture - for yourself and for your child.  Interact with people of your child’s race–form friendships with people of all cultures, valuing diversity.

 

What types of things do you seek to know about other cultures? Recognize multiculturalism is an asset and valued. Make your home a bicultural home.
Do you attend multi-cultural events and celebrations? Go to places where your child is surrounded by people of his/her same race and culture.

 

What do you know about specialized skin and hair care for children of color? Provide the appropriate hair and skin care for your child.
Have you incorporated other races and cultures into your home life? Talk about race and culture often. Incorporate culturally relevant food, celebrations, and stories into your home.

 

Are the schools in your area diverse with children of many cultures?

 

When possible choose integrated schools that offer unbiased educational materials.

 

What cultures are represented in your church? If possible choose to live in a diverse, integrated neighborhood, attend a multi-cultural church or visit different churches and temples.
How do your friends, and extended family members view people of different races? Stand up to racism and discrimination. Have a no tolerance policy for it.

Improving Cross-Cultural Communication

  • Educate yourself. Understand that there are potential problems inherent in cross-cultural communication and that you must make a conscious effort to overcome these problems. Gestures, words, and responses hold different meanings to different cultures. Taking time to educate yourself about the culture of a child in your care will help you be sensitive to these differences.
  • Look at Your Own Culture. Understand how your cultural lens impacts your perception of others. This will help you identify biases or stereotypes you may use when interacting with the child or his/her family.
  • Practice Understanding. To better care for your child, try to understand the impact that culture plays on his/her values, perspectives and behaviors. Try to understand how those factors impact the Biological Family as well.
  • Stop, Drop and Roll! Step back and reflect, use active listening. What you think is a conflict, might instead be a misunderstanding between cultures.
  • Suspend Judgment. Don’t judge the child or family because of their differences. Acknowledge and honor those differences. This includes the socio-economic status of families.
  • You will need to be flexible and open-minded to bridge cultural differences and build connections.

Cultural Humility Resources

  • The Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. The Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD) has long provided leadership in cultural and linguistic competence and in addressing health and mental health disparities and inequities.
  • Building Culturally and Linguistically Humility Services: To Support Young Children, Their Families, and School Readiness. This publication was developed by Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD), under the direction of Phyllis R. Magrab and written by Kathy Seitzinger Hepburn with funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The purpose of this tool kit is to provide guidance, tools, and resources that will assist communities in building culturally and linguistically humility services, supports, programs, and practices related to young children, their families.
  • Introduction to Cultural Humility: A Training Tool. This publication was developed by FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP), a service of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau, a federally mandated Training and Technical Assistance Provider for CBCAP lead agencies.
  • Struggle for Identity: Issues in Trans-racial Adoption. This guidebook, by the Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, was created to help parents and children in trans-racial homes learn how to thrive in and celebrate their bicultural family; and for children to gain a strong sense of racial identity and cultural connections.
  • Trans-racial Parenting in Foster Care and Adoption: Strengthening Your Bicultural Family. A training tool, developed by New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children and Photosynthesis Productions, was designed to inform adoptive and Resource families about the needs of their children of a different race or ethnicity. The video presents a starkly realistic account of the trans-racial adoption experience. Narrated by young adults who were adopted as children, this 20-minute documentary examines the effects of trans-racial adoption on individuals, families, and society.
  • White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. This article is now considered a ‘classic’ by anti-racist educators. It has been used in workshops and classes throughout the United States and Canada for many years. While people of color have described for years how whites benefit from unearned privileges, this is one of the first articles written by a white person on the topic.

Deaf History Month, March 13 to April 25, 2021

National Deaf History Month is celebrated from March 13 through April 15 to commemorate the achievements of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. The time frame is spread across March and April in recognition of three turning points in deaf education history dating back to the early 1800s.

On April 15, 1817, America’s first public school for the deaf was opened. On April 8, 1864, Gallaudet University — the world’s first institution dedicated to advanced education for the deaf and hard of hearing — was officially founded. And more than 100 years later, on March 13, 1988, Gallaudet hired its first deaf president in response to its students’ Deaf President Now movement.

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Deaf Women throughout History

Deaf women have also made significant contributions to the sciences. Annie Jump Cannon, born in 1863, became progressively deaf throughout her childhood, but not before she learned about the constellations from her mother. Cannon's lifelong passion for astronomy led her to pursue a degree in physics, studying stars and novae in the College Observatory at Wellesley. She became the leading expert in stellar classification, a world traveler, and an advocate for women's suffrage. Anthropologist and poet Ruth Benedict was born in 1887. Partially deaf from childhood, Benedict was fascinated with observing the world around her and devoted her life to cultural studies. Known from her humanist perspective, Benedict gained prominence as a respected female researcher in a field dominated by men. Her book "Patterns of Culture" helped shape modern social research methodology.

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Additional Information on Deaf History:

Additional Resources on Deaf Culture:

Person first language or identity first language

The goal with person first language is to center the person and this can be a good way to default when you don’t know someone’s preference. Person with a disability, person with Autism. It is becoming more common for people to use identity first language. Disabled person or Autistic person. Why do some prefer this version? Their disability, autism etc. is part of who they are, it is their lived experience. If you separate that part from them, then they risk it being ignored. In Identity first language, the word person is still there. It would be problematic to refer to groups as “the disabled”, “the autistics”. If we remove the word person entirely then we are at risk of ignoring their humanity.

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Invisible Disability

Many people experience chronic pain, illness or have disabilities that you may not know about. When we think about disability we tend to picture something visible and permanent. Not only are there many conditions where a person’s needs and abilities can change day by day but there are conditions where you may not see anything obvious to identify someone as disabled. As part of the ADA people do not have to share what their disability is in order to receive accommodations. The best practice is working to make public spaces as accommodating as possible so that people don’t have to ask or reveal a need for accommodation.

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Intersectionality and Disability

Language is central to disability politics; negative language can reinforce oppression and discrimination. Using positive language and the social model is vital to achieving an intersectional approach in building enabling and inclusive support services for disabled people. The social model is founded on the idea that our environment and societal barriers disable us, not a fault with the person. Seeing the whole person beyond their disability makes a huge difference in understanding disclosure rates, prevalence rates and engagement with services.

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Gender Equality: a Definition

Gender equality means that all genders are free to pursue whatever career, lifestyle choice, and abilities they want without discrimination. Their rights, opportunities, and access to society are not different based on their gender. Gender equality does not necessarily mean that everyone is treated exactly the same. Their different needs and dreams are valued equally. Gender equity is often discussed at the same time as gender equality for this reason. Since society has favored men for so long, men have many advantages. Equity fills in the gaps so everyone else can “catch up” to men. It addresses discrimination and imbalances in society so that equality can become a reality.

What Does Gender Equality Mean? | Human Rights Careers

International Women's Day

The first National Woman's Day was observed in the United States on February 28th, 1909. The day was designated in honor of the 1908 garment workers' strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions. But the first milestone in US was much earlier - in 1848. Indignant over women being barred from speaking at an anti-slavery convention, Americans Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott congregate a few hundred people at their nation’s first women’s rights convention in New York. Together they demand civil, social, political and religious rights for women in a Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. A movement is born. To learn more, click here.

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Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day

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Holidays

While many religions and cultures celebrate harvest and or winter holidays these can be different dates in different hemispheres. Not all religions have a December holiday and not all holidays in December are the major holiday for different religions. I.e. Hanukkah is not the holiest of Jewish holidays but it is in December. In the Islamic faith there are no holidays in December but their holiest celebration is Ramadan which starts in April next year.

Chanukah  

Chanukah (12/10-18 this year) is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.

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Christmas 

Christmas, Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. The English term Christmas (“mass on Christ’s day”) is of fairly recent origin. The earlier term Yule may have derived from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, which referred to the feast of the winter solstice. The corresponding terms in other languages—Navidad in Spanish, Natale in Italian, Noël in French—all probably denote nativity.

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Dia De Los Muertos

Festivals of life nourish us with ancient rituals in a fast-changing world, covering all facets of the human condition, the changing seasons, weddings, coming of age ceremonies, births and deaths, the worship of gods and the battle against evil spirits. Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations unite the living and the dead in feasting, dancing, and decoration.

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Diwali 

Diwali is a holiday celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains in Metro Detroit, India and around the world. The five-day occasion is also known as the festival of lights. This year it was November 14th.

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Juneteenth

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.

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Kakunupmawa 

“As the cultural director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, I love being able to discuss with the public some of our rituals and customs.  I’d like to again discuss some aspects of the “kakunupmawa” ceremony, as it is known in our people’s native Samala language.

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Kwanzaa

“THE HOLIDAY KWANZAA is a product of creative cultural synthesis. That is to say, it is the product of critical selection and judicious mixture on several levels. First, Kwanzaa is a synthesis of both Continental African and Diasporanl African cultural elements. This means that it is rooted in both the cultural values and practice of Africans on the Continent and in the U.S. with strict attention to cultural authenticity and values for a meaningful, principled and productive life.

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Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year and the Spring Festival, lasts for 16 days. Preparations started with Little New year on January 24, 2022 and continue until New Year’s Eve, January 31, 2022, culminating with the Lantern Festival. The date for Chinese New Year changes every year. This holiday’s history is over 4,000 years old.

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Mardi Gras

"Mardi Gras is traditionally celebrated on “Fat Tuesday,” the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.  In many areas, however, Mardi Gras has evolved into a week-long festival." To learn more, click here. Mardi Gras occurs every year 47 days before Easter.

Ramadan 

“Ramadan is considered one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. In Ramadan, Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Qur’an, and fast from food and drink during the sunlit hours as a means of learning self-control, gratitude, and compassion for those less fortunate. Ramadan is a month of intense spiritual rejuvenation with a heightened focus on devotion, during which Muslims spend extra time re-reading the Qur’an and performing special prayers. Those unable to fast, such as pregnant or nursing women, the sick, or elderly people and children, are exempt from fasting.”

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Rosh Hashanah 

“It is the birthday of the universe, the day G‑d created Adam and Eve, and it’s celebrated as the head of the Jewish year. Just like the head controls the body, our actions on Rosh Hashanah have a tremendous impact on the rest of the year.

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Pronouns and Why They Matter

Just as we have names that we go by, we also have pronouns that we want others to use when referring to us. You may not often think of this unless someone uses the incorrect pronoun with you. The name or pronouns that people use don't necessarily indicate anything about their gender or other identities. While we more often share our name and pronouns publicly, we tend to keep identity more private (i.e. we don’t always freely share our race, class, or sexuality with acquaintances).

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Wait, what is a dead name?

When someone comes out as trans gender or non-binary they will often choose a name that fits their identity. The name they were given at birth is called their dead name and can be hurtful if someone deadnames them after they have come out. If they have not legally been able to change their name yet, you can refer to the names as: their name and their legal or dead name. Once their name is legally changed, there is generally no reason to use their deadname. If someone wants to know what they were named previously that is insensitive and no longer relevant. Obviously if it did have some relevance, ie. Looking up an old file under their previous name you can just ask what was their previous name or what their deadname was. Also, you could ask; “what name would I find that file under?” Or “Oh, so they hadn’t changed their name yet when we saw them before, what name is on the file?” 

What to Do if You Misgender a Trans Person (out.com) 

A Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth – The Trevor Project 

How to address a person or group?  

If you are are trying to get the attention of someone you don’t know try; excuse me friend, ahoy there or just a moment kind stranger. For groups; folks, friends, crew, gang, peeps or team! In place of ladies and gentlemen you can use Theydies and gentlethems!  

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Learning more about Gender 

What is the gender binary and how is it different than biological sex? Biological sex is determined by chromosomes and physical characteristics. The reality is most of us don’t really know what our sex chromosomes are but it is assumed based on our physical characteristics.  

  • Male – XY chromosomes and has a penis at birth. AMAB – Assigned Male at Birth 
  • Female – XX chromosomes and has a vagina at birth. AFAB – Assigned Female at Birth 
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Cis gender and Trans gender 

  • Cis – means on this side of.  Cis gender – is a person who identifies as the sex they were labeled at birth. 
  • Trans  - means on the other side or across. Trans gender – is a person who does not identify with the sex they were labeled at birth. The Trans umbrella also includes genderqueer, non-binary, agender or genderfluid. 
  • Genderqueer – a person who does not fall in the gender binary 
  • Non-binary or agender – Do not identify with any gender 
  • Gender fluid – A person who moves between genders. Their gender identity is fluid and may change day to day. 
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LGBT, LGBT+, LGBTQ+, LGBTQIA++, Alphabet Mafia, Queer? 

Do you wonder what it all means and why does it keep changing? To start with the Why? We are learning more about biology, gender and attraction all the time. The more that society accepts people who fall under the LGBTQIA++ rainbow, the more we get to explore and expand what it means. Younger generations are exploring identity in new ways. It can be confusing, so here are some of the most common terms and links to explore more. 

  • L – Lesbian. A woman or non-binary person who experiences attraction to women. Attraction can be romantic and/or sexual. 
  • G – Gay. A man or non-binary person who experiences attraction to men. Attraction can be romantic and/or sexual. Sometimes used as an umbrella term, but can be seen as centering gay men in the community. 
  • B – Bisexual or Biromantic- attraction to two or more genders. Can include people whose attraction is regardless of gender. Attraction can be romantic and/or sexual. 
  • T – Trans gender person. Person who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Trans Gender is an adjective, so avoid saying someone is transgender. They are a trans gender person, trans gender man, trans gender woman. Some also use trans masculine or trans feminine. 
  • Q – Queer – an umbrella term for LGBTQIA, for anyone who feels that they don’t fit a specific identity, or that they fit into multiple identities. 
    • Not all choose to use Queer for themselves but you will see it used as an academic category I.e. Queer studies, queer history, queer politics. It has also been used historically throughout the civil right movement.  I.e., “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” rallying cry from the 70’s.  
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  • I – Intersex. Someone whose external sexual characteristics may be ambiguous, not match their chromosomes or they develop secondary sexual characteristics from the "opposite" sex during puberty. Intersex is not a gender. A person with intersex characteristics may be cis, trans or non-binary.
  • A – Asexual and Aromantic. Asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Aromantic is someone that does not experience romantic attraction. The A is sometimes mistaken for Ally. While allyship is an important thing for any marginalized group, it is not an identity. 

What the plus? ++ 

  • T, 2 or 2S – Two Spirit. This is a term used by some indigenous people to indicate that; they have both male and female spirit within them, identify as a third gender or don’t identify with the gender assigned at birth. It is not appropriate to use this term as a self-identifier unless you are part of the indigenous community. 
  • P - Pansexual/Omnisexual - attraction regardless of gender or attraction to all genders. 
  • Q – Sometimes there is a second Q for Questioning. For someone who is still exploring their attraction or gender.

LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

Pride Month occurs in the month of June every year to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. To learn more about Stonewall, please click here.

What is Neurodiversity?

You may know or overhear people using the terms Neurotypical/Neurodiverse to talk about how they think or how their brain works. Many folks with ADHD, and Autism describe themselves as Neurodiverse and use Neurotypical to describe people without Autism or ADHD. They don’t see themselves as having a disorder or disability, it is just how their brain works.

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Autism Acceptance Month

In 1970, the Autism Society launched an ongoing nationwide effort to promote autism awareness and assure that all affected by autism are able to achieve the highest quality of life possible.  In 1972, the Autism Society launched the first annual National Autistic Children’s week, which evolved into Autism Acceptance Month (AAM). This April, we continue our efforts to spread awareness, promote acceptance, and ignite change.

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Why the Shift Away from Autism Awareness?

“In 2011, autistic people decided to take back Autism Awareness Month, and Paula Durbin Westby organized the first Autism Acceptance Month in response. Westby chose the word “acceptance,” which conveys a shift in thinking or in action, and goes beyond just being aware that autistic people exist. It’s about equal rights and justice for the autistic community, treating autistic people with autonomy and respect, and adopting a “nothing about us without us” mindset that autistic people should be at the center of conversations about autism.”

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More Resources

Black History in Ventura County 

Books by BIPOC authors 

Business Resources 

LGBTQIA+

How to Talk to Kids about Current Events 

Help kids make sense of the news, ask them questions and get a sense of how they are understanding the information.

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If your child or client asks “what should they do?” 

The children you talk to, work with and adult clients may ask what they should do or even what do you do about these events? Activism comes in all shapes and sizes and change can often seem unbearably slow.

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How to Celebrate Black History Month With Kids

Black History Month begins February, this is why it's important for kids to know what it's all about, plus tips from educators on celebrating as a family, from fun activities to volunteer opportunities. 

Martin Luther King Jr.

From 6 meaningful ways kids can celebrate Martin Luther King Jr:

  1. Talk about race year round
  2. Share his quotes that are often ignored by the mainstream
  3. Read kids books about injustice
  4. Talk to kids about how social change happens
  5. Teach kids about the power of activism to change unjust laws
  6. Make a family gift to an organization working to stop racism, poverty, or violence

https://www.rebekahgienapp.com/martin-luther-king/

Talking to Kids

YouTube video for talking to kids

Books for Children

LGBTQIA+

Cultural Considerations When Caring for Your Child

Ways to Donate

Black Owned Businesses

National Indigenous Women's Resource Center

  • National Indigenous Women's Resource Center- Providing national leadership to end violence against American India, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian women by lifting up the collective voices of grassroots advocates and offering culturally grounded resources, technical assistance and training, and policy development to strengthen tribal sovereignty.