For those of you who weren't able to make the meeting, we asked for people to join our diversity committee to ensure we have a well-represented table going forward. Sarah Stoeckl is our Diversity Chair and will be heading the three committees as we develop them. Inclusion and diversity all across the board (ethnic background, orientation, socio-economic, age, gender identification, and yes, sex--men are welcome at our table, too) is essential to building a strong chapter, and we want to hear all voices as we move forward and navigate our path.
The best way to build diversity is to bring your friends to a meeting; that is our first approach in creating a wide range of voices and perspectives for the South Willamette Valley chapter. We genuinely want to be able to represent all women, but in order for that to happen, we need to bring those women into our circle and hear their worries, their issues, their concerns. We can't do this without all of our members participating.
In addition, we have created a Diversity Plan and had our first committee meeting this past Wednesday; below are Sarah's notes on the meeting so you can have a solid idea what we're working for:
Following up about our chapter diversity building meeting last night. Here are the highlights:
- First, we did introductions and talked about how we define ourselves individually and each person's experience or interest in building diversity. We also talked about openness to getting things wrong and a willingness to be corrected and learn from each other and others.
- We then talked about national NOW's priorities, which (at a high level) emphasize 1) increasing our chapter membership's awareness and knowledge; 2) interacting with other groups and working to increase chapter diversity, including within our leadership.
- Discussion of how the 3 committees proposed by national NOW seem to require some overlapping staggering one-to-the-next in our starting chapter: community assessment to chapter awareness to outreach.
- The group then brainstormed ways that we might begin reaching out, contacts people already had, etc.
- Because we had a small group last night, we agreed to get to work and not worry yet about placing people on specific committees.
- This group is beginning to compile via a shared Google sheet/list of other organizations and groups in the Eugene-Springfield area that we can consider reaching out to. The focus will first be on 1) learning more about that organization and 2) finding out how NOW can help them. If anyone is interested in helping with this research-compiling work, let me know and I'll add you to the sheet.
- Other next steps will be:
- Beginning to actively reach out to diverse groups in our community.
- Discussion and proposal from our committee on what areas of cross-collaboration our NOW chapter should focus on first.
- Ideas for increasing knowledge and sensitivity in our chapter.