Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
What Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC is committed to
We at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina are committed to JEDI – Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. As part of our commitment, we affirm Big Brother Big Sisters of America’s commitment to and statement regarding JEDI. Read them under the JEDI image at right.
What we’re doing to deepen our knowledge and practice of JEDI
We recognize that saying we are committed to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion is not enough. Our words must be backed by action.
In August 2021, we hired a part-time JEDI Specialist. While JEDI work is the responsibility of all staff, having a designated point person helps ensure we are making forward progress as an organization.
In October 2021, we convened a staff JEDI Committee. The committee meets monthly to discuss current issue areas, deepen our learning, collaborate on projects, and share resources and ideas for growth.
Professional development and training
We commit to regular training for staff to grow in our awareness of JEDI and learn how we can apply our learning to our work. Plans include adding JEDI training for Bigs and members of local BBBSWNC Advisory Councils and the BBBSWNC Board of Directors.
Videos from BBBSA to advance your understanding of JEDI
Becoming We: https://youtu.be/UI0NAJiiOwg
Choice of a Lifetime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkzEUh-w6MY
We realize that as we grow we won’t do things perfectly. We welcome feedback from all of our stakeholders – Littles, families, Bigs, staff, board, council, and community members. Contact BBBSWNC Equity Team Leader Danielle Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions, and concerns or for more information.
Big Brother Big Sisters of America’s commitment to JEDI
Together we affirm that every person has the opportunity to reach their full potential. We are committed to creating and cultivating a safe environment where all individuals feel respected and valued equally. We are committed to a nondiscriminatory and anti-racist approach and are committed to dismantling any inequities within our policies, systems, programs and services.
BBBSA’s JEDI statement
At Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, JEDI – justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion – is an integral part of our values and mission. We recognize, affirm, and celebrate the diverse backgrounds, lives, and experiences of all of our stakeholders, including youth, families, donors, volunteers, and staff. We ensure the opportunity for all voices and perspectives to be heard and honored. In the workplace, we foster an environment where all people can be their best selves. We affirm that every person (regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, gender expression, ideology, income, national origin, race or sexual orientation, marital or veteran status) has the opportunity to reach their full potential. We strive to realize the full potential that is within all of us by ensuring that all voices and perspectives are heard and honored.
Regional and National JEDI Resources
Building Bridges Asheville
An organization working “to dismantle racism by fostering relationships that respect diversity, seek understanding and encourage action.” They provide two 9-week learning sessions each year with the hope to “create an optimal space in which community members can expand awareness and analysis of how racism impacts us on individual, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic levels.”
Racial Equity Institute (REI)
An alliance “of trainers, organizers, and institutional leaders who have devoted themselves to the work of creating racially equitable organizations and systems. REI helps individuals and organizations develop tools to challenge patterns of power and grow equity.”
As Long as the Grass Shall Grow
An interactive resource for learning more about the indigenous history of WNC and the formation of Buncombe County.
Racial Justice Coalition Asheville
An alliance “of individuals and organizations committed to addressing systemic racism and state-sanctioned violence against Black people and those most impacted by poverty, criminalization, and mass incarceration. Through grassroots-led organizing and community collaborations, the RJC seeks to achieve and sustain deep equity by building power to those historically underrepresented, dismantling policies and institutions that uphold racism, and reimagining a community where justice exists for all people.”
Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Dear Justyce by Nic Stone
Stamped: Racism, Anti-racism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
Supporting Latinx Youth and Families
Colaborativa La Milpa
Colaborativa La Milpa was “established as a collective response for building capacity around fundraising, planning, evaluation, and coordinated strategic approaches.” The collaborative includes the following organizations: Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción, Mä hñäkihu: Indigenous Language Preservation Project, PODER Emma Community Ownership, and Raíces Emma-Erwin.
An organization with a mission “to provide culturally-appropriate health and wellness services for the uninsured, low-income Latinx community.”
UNETE is a grassroots non-profit organization with the mission “to collaborate and co-create inclusive and equitable spaces that foster health, strengthen self advocacy and promote wellness for the whole-person and whole-community.”
An organization “shaping the future of the Latino community, while still preserving our culture and honoring our heritage.” Their vision is “for immigrant communities and people of color to live in a just, multiracial society, free from oppression and exploitation, in which we can thrive with power and purpose.”
International Friendship Center – Macon Co.
An organization “facilitating services that bridge the gap between struggle and security for people in hardship.” They “help provide opportunities for adults and children to obtain basic human and social needs as well as assistance with challenges facing immigrants” and serve people who live or work in the Highlands, Franklin and Cashiers, NC area.
Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth
HOTLINE: Call 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678-678 to chat or text with a free, trained crisis counselor committed to listening to and supporting LGBTQ+ youth. You can also click the link above to chat with someone online. Available 24/7.
HOTLINE: Call 888-843-4564 Monday-Friday from 4pm-midnight eastern time and Saturday from 12-5 pm eastern time to connect with a trained volunteer who can provide a safe, anonymous, confidential space to talk and receive support and affirmation.
Youth OUTright WNC
Youth OUTright is dedicated to empowering LGBTQIA+ youth ages 11-20 in WNC. They “envision a world where youth of all gender and sexual identities are empowered to reach their full potential” and “provide information, support and resources in a safer, inclusive and affirming environment.”
Q Christian Fellowship
A “diverse community with varied backgrounds, cultures, theologies and denominations” drawn together through a love of Christ and a belief that every person is deserving of love. Q Christian “cultivates radical belong among LGBTQ+ people and allies through a commitment to growth, community, and relational justice.”
Founded by a group of teachers in 1990, GLSEN exists to support and advocate for LGBTQIA+ students across the country. They “advise on, advocate for, and research comprehensive policies designed to protect LGBTQ students as well as students of marginalized identities.”
Founded in 1973, “PFLAG is the first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families. PFLAG’s network of hundreds of chapters and more than 250,000 members and supporters works to create a caring, just, and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.”
An organization that uses innovative legal and other strategies to advocate for the human rights of children born with intersex traits.
Human Rights Campaign
A national organization that “strives to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.” HRC “envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people plus community members who use different language to describe identity are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.”
Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) works nationally to “create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.”
Supporting Youth with Disabilities
Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center (ECAC)
A North Carolina-based organization that “helps parents navigate the special education system, know their rights, and use their voice.” They provide information, support, training, and resources to assist families caring for children with special needs from birth to age 26.
The Family Support Network
A project of Mission Health, the Family Support Network “provides parents with information, emotional support, and social relationships to help them care for their children. Parents who participate say that they are better able to cope with the realities of raising a child who has special needs.”
First Resource Center
FIRST offers comprehensive services both for persons with disabilities and the people who love and support them. They “connect the dots between families, schools, and government agencies to create the best network of support” around each of their clients.
“RespectAbility is a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, and that advances policies and practices that empower people with disabilities to have a better future.” Their mission is “to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.”
Rooted in Rights
Rooted in Rights “produces media to amplify perspectives from the disability community.” A great learning resource, they “produce videos, blog posts, and social media campaigns that center people with disabilities” and “strive to include diverse, authentic representation of multiply-marginalized disabled folks, including those that identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and immigrants.”
Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally by Emily Ladau
Mia Lee is Wheeling Through Middle School by Melissa Shang and Eva Shang
Pisgah Legal Services
Pisgah Legal Services “seeks to pursue justice by providing legal assistance and advocacy to help low-income people in Western North Carolina meet their basic needs and improve their lives.”
An “information and referral service provided by United Way of North Carolina. Families and individuals can dial 2-1-1 or 1-888-892-1162 to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services and resources within their community.”
Presence of systems and supports (e.g. policies, practices, norms) that achieve and sustain fair treatment, equitable opportunities, and outcomes for people of all races and backgrounds. Systematic, proactive reinforcement.
Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender—the groups that most often come to mind when the term “diversity” is used—but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.
Equity is when everyone gets what they need in order to have access, opportunities, and a fair chance to succeed. Equity recognizes that the idea of equality (“the same for everyone”) may not address widespread disparities and individual circumstances where individualized solutions are necessary.
Supporting and embracing diversity in a way that clearly shows all individuals are valued, recognized, and accepted for who they truly are. This involves demonstrating respect for the abilities, beliefs, backgrounds, and cultures of those around you and engaging those with diverse perspectives, so that others feel an unconditional sense of belonging for who they are.
Definitions were adapted from the following sources: