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National Diversity Week promises a bright future for equity at Emory
Pride 2022 parade

Emory celebrated National Diversity Week Oct. 3-9 with a variety of events and programs. From a diversity fair to drag shows, the week offered something for everyone.  

The celebration started with a keynote from Carol Henderson — vice provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer, and adviser to the president — called “The Building Blocks of Transformation.” She started with a quote from Arthur Chan, who is one of the leading minds in implementing diversity, equity and inclusion principles in organizations: “Diversity is a fact. Equity is a choice. Inclusion is an action. Belonging is an outcome.” 

During the speech, Henderson acknowledged the strides Emory has made in furthering the “JEDI” principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Initiatives ranging from the student characteristics project to the Women in Leadership Networking program have pushed Emory toward becoming an even more welcoming place for people from a variety of backgrounds. As a result of campus- wide engagement, the university recently won the HEED Award from INSIGHT into Diversity Magazine, a national honor recognizing colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.   

Emory’s DEI pillars are climate and culture; professional development, education and awareness; and accountability. Looking forward, Henderson said that faculty, staff and students can expect to see even more programs and initiatives in those areas. She also encouraged everyone to consider how they can become a part of creating a more inclusive environment, emphasizing the importance of working with more diverse vendors for goods and services as an easy way to start the work in every department on campus. 

“We are working to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are integrated into the ethos of our campus,” Henderson said. “It’s not a set-aside or an add-on; it’s the way we do our business.”  

Later in the week, on Oct. 6, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hosted a half-day retreat for those who champion DEI work on campus or who serve in DEI positions. The retreat covered five areas: 

  1. Communicating about the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) survey results: During the 2021-22 academic year, Emory employees and students had the chance to participate in a climate survey to assess how people experience the campus environment. The results of this survey, which will be released in early 2023, are informing DEI strategic goals across campus.  
  2. Responding to crisis communications related to DEI issues: Luke Anderson, Emory’s new vice president of communications and marketing, led attendees through a crisis communications case study. His advice to everyone is that when it comes to crises, internal alignment is critical, as is leading with empathy and compassion. 
  3. Accessing DEI data from the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support: Justin Shepherd and Alex Chin walked attendees through how to search for and interpret DEI data. They shared demographic data from the current first-year class, including ethnicity, gender and race. Results from the NACCC survey will also be uploaded to this system to inform strategic planning. 
  4. Participating in DEI learning modules: Melody Johnson, who is the director of diversity and inclusion education and outreach, outlined online courses available to Emory University faculty and staff on DiversityEdu. Through the platform, Emory currently offers courses on communication for inclusion, engagement with diversity and the influence of unconscious bias. The diversity and inclusion education and outreach web page will go live in January 2023. For now, the courses are available by department request. 
  5. Cultivating better human resources: Theresa Milazzo, Emory University vice president of human resources, shared that university HR staff will take the aforementioned courses on DiversityEdu. She also noted a new DEI competency will be added to the performance management system for this year. 

Henderson and Nicole Ingram, director of programs and special initiatives in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said they plan to mark National Diversity Week annually with the diversity fair and retreat both being centerpieces of the celebration.  

“Celebrating National Diversity Week allowed us to continue building an inclusive community,” said Ingram. “This week presented opportunities to celebrate and highlight the many identity groups of the Emory community anchored in our DEI principles.” 

Connecting faculty and staff 

The university’s new employee resource groups both hosted programs during National Diversity Week. 

On Monday afternoon, the Emory Black Employee Network (EBEN) hosted two events. On Monday, EBEN held a screening of the 2016 documentary “13th” in partnership with Emory Votes Initiative (EVI), the political science department and the Emory Center for Ethics. The film tracks the history of the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in the United States. The film connects the dots between the passage of the 13th Amendment and the rise of incarceration rates and expansion of modern prisons.  

Also on Monday, the Emory Pride Employee Network (EPEN) hosted a panel discussion about transgender identity and allyship on campus. The group also participated in the annual Atlanta Pride parade on Oct. 9.  

On Thursday, EBEN partnered with EVI again as well as the Emory chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Georgia NAACP and EPEN for a panel discussion about voting.  

Leading with pride 

Dozens of Emory students and employees participated together in the annual Atlanta Pride Parade. This year, students along with employees from Emory Healthcare and Emory University walked in the parade carrying signs that advocated for LGBTQ+ rights. 

The university provided breakfast and transportation for faculty, staff and students who wanted to participate in the parade. A group met on the Atlanta campus and took buses to Emory Midtown Hospital, where they joined the Emory Healthcare group and marched in the parade. 

Participants from Emory Healthcare sported T-shirts that read “We take pride in the care we provide.” Emory buses were wrapped in rainbows and carried the same message. Those from the university wore shirts that featured the Cox Hall bell tower, the Emory bridge across Clifton Road and the message “Together in Pride,” which is also featured on the light-pole banners across campus. 

A sea of rainbow flags waved in the breeze along Peachtree Street as members of the Emory community united to celebrate LGBT History Month.  

“After two years of cancelled Atlanta Prides due to COVID-19, Emory returned to the parade with our largest and most enthusiastic contingent since our first march in 2009,” said Danielle Bruce-Steele, director of the Office of LGBT Life. “We are thrilled with how many community members from across Emory University and Emory Healthcare came together to support one another in celebration and joy.” 

Thinking about the impact of National Diversity Week, Ingram added, “I hope that the Emory community takes time to understand the theme of the week, which was 'The Inclusion Equation – Where Inclusion Meets Belonging.’ We learned that inclusion is the action necessary to take us to the next level. We must be accountable for our actions to successfully embrace a belonging mindset.” 

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