Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Definitions

Here at SMSD, we are committed to cultivating a community that embodies Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), which is why we understand that “diversity” cannot just be a buzzword.  Oftentimes, when individuals and groups think of JEDI, they only put their efforts toward diversity, which simply identifies the qualities that make us unique and add to our school community’s diversity demographics.  However, it’s critical for us to stop and ask ourselves, “diverse from what?” to get to a common understanding of how we create and sustain spaces of belongingness and safety.  Therefore, it is critical for us to move beyond diversity and inclusion and move towards equity and justice, if we want to uphold our commitment to igniting our students' own agency and social responsibility.

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Adapted from: Indiana University Bloomington Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning | Diversity Statements 



Justice: The vision of everyone reaching their full potential within the societies in which they reside through creating a just society that ensures all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure.  Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others and the society as a whole.

Equity: Fair and just treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people through the identification and elimination of barriers, while at the same time creating policies and enacting practices that ensure outcomes are not predictive by identity or demography.  Not to be confused with equality, which is giving everyone the same thing.  Equity is giving people what they need to thrive.

Diversity: All the ways our identities make us unique, which includes visible and invisible differences. It’s all the ways in which people differ, and it 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, culture, religion, recognized sensory/mental/physical disability, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, veteran or military status, and physical appearance.  It also involved different ideas, perspectives, and values.

It is important to note that many activists and thinkers critique diversity alone as a strategy.  For instance, Baltimore Racial Justice Action states: “Diversity is silent on the subject of equity.  In an anti-oppression context, therefore, the issue is not diversity, but rather equity.  Often when people talk about diversity, they are thinking only of the ‘non-dominant’ groups.”

Inclusion: The act of encouraging belonging of traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups through creating environments that celebrate, recognize, value, give voice, and encourage individuals to be themselves and fully participate in processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power.

Adapted from 
W. K. Kellogg Foundation Racial Equity Resource Guide Glossary and Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, 3rd Edition.