Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

August 2022 State Board Update: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

Regina Tillman
3rd Vice President for DEI


Crystal Joseph
DEI Task Force Co-Chair

While it seems that defining our lives from thus forth as “normal” is passé, I hope that this summer has been a nourishing and replenishing time for us all. Kindness and self-care have been elevated in importance in our activism and with our ever growing awareness of how much we actually can aid in improving the world, perhaps we will begin to see the beginnings of a “new -normal” that we all can I have begun reconnecting with the authors, Kimberlee Yolanda Williams and best-selling author, Debby Irving, for rescheduling of the workshop based on Ms. Williams’ book entitled, Dear White Woman, Please Come Home. It was originally planned for April 2022, and I hope that it will be conducted in mid-October. Please look for updates within the upcoming weeks so you can save the date after it is announced.
In November, I hope you can join me and the DEI Task Force members in a 21-Day Racial Equity Indigenous Challenge that will enlighten us on both the past and the present as related to the Indigenous American population and its demise at the hands of European colonizers. It is planned to conclude on or near Native American Heritage Day, November 25th. The Task Force has been working on recommendations to provide you on how to create an authentic local approach to conducting “Land Acknowledgements” and those will be issued in that time as well. Be assured, learning of the amazing history of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, let alone of those of the land in what we now refer to as New York State, will be eye-opening!
From the 21 Day Challenge description: “Too often the framing of racial justice gets limited to the Black/white experience. We find that by broadening our lens of how white supremacy marginalizes multiple groups, we both deepen our understanding of white supremacist strategy and impacts and learn about particular histories and current issues of historically targeted groups. As you work through this challenge, bear in mind the degree of invisibility experienced in US Native communities. The process of reclaiming Indigenous history is a work in progress and therefore not always complete or aligned. Not to worry. Take in what you can in the spirit it is offered – from perspectives and experiences as diverse as the millions of descendants from the 574 nations on whose land we in the US now stand.”
And DEI Online Drop-In Meetings will be scheduled monthly beginning in September. These meetings are informal, unrecorded gatherings of our NYS League members as they wish to attend (thus, the drop-in nature of the meetings). These meetings are held to discuss with each other and available members of the DEI Task Force, your challenges, successes, questions, and answers. I will be looking forward to hearing about how the 4 P’s are deployed locally to get past “performative compliance” with our DEI policies, reactions to the 21 Day Challenge and how the information is used on an individual basis or at the local league, opinions on we can best help each other navigate these times of heightened ‘isms’, and more.
But while it is the case that all the ‘isms” seem to be standing front-and-center currently, I have also read or heard it said several times in the past months that it is the individual that changes… and that is what changes the world. Individuals with their freedom of choice, can choose to think differently and act differently. “There is no social-change fairy. There is only change made by the hands of individuals.” – Winona LaDuke. For any questions or assistance in your local DEI efforts, please contact me at your convenience: Regina Tillman, rmt370@gmail.com
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