There Shall Be No Barriers

I am proud to belong to an organization whose diversity statement contains these
“In principle and in practice, AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin or disability. Membership is not by invitation.”
Meeting Sites and Times (from the AAUW National diversity statement):
All national, regional, state, and branch meetings and events will be accessible to persons with disabilities, and all publicity about events will carry accessibility information.
Facility owners and operators who are known to discriminate shall not be patronized by AAUW.
No meetings will be held on the following major religious observances: Maundy Thursday through Easter, Rosh Hashannah (two days), Yom Kippur, the evening preceding the first day of Passover, Christmas, or major holidays of significant religious or ethnic groups. (All Jewish religious holidays begin at sundown the previous day.)
Most would agree these are fine principles. We also know good intent does not insure perfect action, but when the intent is sincere, we can move toward greater and greater success in implementation of these goals.
It is appropriate to look at our performance over the year and think through in concrete terms what actions correlate with the above principles. Do we welcome all guests and new members? Are meeting sites appropriate to those requiring accommodation for physical challenges? When we interact with a guest or member who seems in some way unique are we comfortable and inclusive or do we shy away and retreat feeling perhaps, “I do not know what to do or say?”
Honoring diversity and inclusiveness is not a static act of belief. It is a series of real life actions that provide a model of a community that expresses the values we adhere to. As we welcome the new year, let us recommit to the acts that make us a just and welcoming AAUW branch that we can truly say “walks the walk not just talks the talk.” We are “for real.”
Fondly, for the Diversity Committee,

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