Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

In November 2021, we observed Native American Heritage Month in the U.S. This has inspired several WA branches to invite tribal members to speak on indigenous history, rights and equity issues. In addition, the AAUW-WA state board has been discussing land acknowledgments, where a speaker says the names of the local tribes on whose land the meeting or event is being held.

Land acknowledgments are statements being spoken at the beginning of meetings and events, both online and in person. They are verbal tributes to the indigenous people who lived in the land where the meeting is held, prior to contact with Europeans. However, the issue is much more complicated than a single statement. Actions range from a sentence or two mentioning the tribe’s name, to invitations to indigenous speakers to speak about the issues surrounding land acknowledgments. This can be a first step to creating awareness of what can be changed.

Is this enough? No, it is just a first step to create awareness in our branches. We need to be informed and educated, but the key word here is ACTION. What will we do with this knowledge? If the first step is educating AAUW-WA branch members about local Indian tribes and women’s issues within them, what action will follow to make AAUW a truly inclusive women’s organization? These dynamic next steps are essential toward allyship and inclusion and this is where AAUW is providing powerful tools for branches (CLICK TO SEE TOOLS OFFERED AT THE NATIONAL AAUW WEBSITE…)

You may let us know what you think at diversity@aauw-wa.org.

“Nothing About Us Without Us” is an old slogan denoting respect and inclusion when seeking allyship and supporting others. As author and change catalyst Vernā Myers said: “Diversity is being invited to the party, and inclusion is being asked to dance.” “Belonging is choosing the music” was added at a recent AAUW National DEI meeting.