On behalf of the entire DEI Task Force, we wish a Happy New Year to all. We had a slew of holidays we just passed through, the most recent being the Chinese Lunar New year that began on January 22nd. This is the year of the Rabbit with the associated element of water! (All the elements being earth, fire, wood, water, and gold.) Let us hope that the year fulfills its designated characteristics for the Water Rabbit, that is, symbolic of longevity, peace, and prosperity with 2023 predicted to be a year of hope, according to Chinese culture.
In terms of racial and social healing, we also see rays of hope. So many excellent programs were conducted in and around the national holiday observing the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, January 16th. And this year, along with calling for Dr. King’s Birthday to be an opportunity to perform serve within our communities, the day after really seemed to take off this year as the “Day of Racial Healing”. Programs in communities and on national TV networks excelled in pointing out that we are a better and stronger America when putting aside our underlying caste system that minimizes the contributions of BIPOC, disabled, LGBQT, women, poor, youth, and elderly. Hopefully you did catch one of these January programs and are willing to talk about their content to your friends and colleagues.
“We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing‐oriented’ society to a ‘person‐oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered… A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, 1967″
Your DEI Task Force met in December, preparing to have a busy year in 2023, beginning with:
- DEI Self-Assessment Survey: To be issued shortly to all NYS League Chapters and for individual member inputs. It was completed initially back in 2020 by those NYS Leagues that had representation on the Task Force and by the State League Board. And since then, the LWVNYS Task Force and this Office of the 3rd Vice President for DEI, have provided numerous methods to learn about DEI in support of National’s stance that DEI is as important to uphold – in principle and practice – as is our concept of nonpartisanship. The Assessment Survey will need to be completed by April 1st by all of our local league chapters through the consensus of their Board of Directors. Members not on Boards are invited to submit individual surveys. You will be notified when the final version of the DEI Assessment is ready for your input and submission.
- Education: Is a nonending endeavor as we transform into a “continuous learning” organization. Our bimonthly virtual DEI Drop-In Sessions will continue (look for a February announcement for the next date) and we continue to share articles, information, and impressions on our FaceBook Group which is open to all NYS League members interested in DEI: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lwvnysdei
We are also actively seeking funding in support of:
- upon popular demand, to secure a second round with educator Kimberlee Williams (“Dear White Woman” Workshop, October 2022) to cover in-depth the tools for better communications in the effort to cross the racial divide.
And there is more but these are on the top of our agenda! We appreciate all those that followed our efforts and participated in our educational offerings through 2022! Let us “keep hope alive” that every step we take collectively – and individually – toward appreciating our differences makes the world a better place!