We all have a role to play: Advancing inclusion and equity

Celebration of the Flags at the University of Indianapolis

Everyone has a role to play when it comes to advancing inclusion and equity. Each of our roles is different and should be tailored to what we bring to the table and how we can use our strengths to advance an effort as important as inclusion. 

That’s what Amber Smith, Vice President for Inclusion and Equity, wants the UIndy community to know right now. 

“Everyone is at a different level in their cultural fluency, and everyone is unique,” she said. “Sometimes people are paralyzed or struggle with inaction because they’re trying to be or do something that isn’t aligned with who they are. It’s important to be authentically who you are, and getting involved should still reflect who you are. Start where you are and grow to who you want to become.” 

There are numerous ways to get involved in this issue, says Smith, who moderated a virtual town hall titled, “Profiled: The Plight of Blacks in America” in June. 

Smith was joined by faculty, staff, and outside guests for an action-based discussion about how to be agents of change for the better. The conversation provided resources and direction for people who are wondering how they can help or what they can do to make a difference.

“This is about confronting structural racism. It starts with a conversation, but we can’t end there. We must have accountability built into these plans,” Smith said. 

The Office of Inclusion and Equity will also host experiential education opportunities for faculty, staff, and students in the upcoming academic year. These workshops will be tailored to specific groups and will help individuals define the roles they can play in this important work. Check back for updates about these initiatives. 

Smith says the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped the work being done through the Office of Inclusion and Equity. Workshops and development opportunities have been transitioned to virtual meeting spaces so the UIndy community can continue to engage in regular discussions about inclusion in a non-threatening way. 

“We’ve got work to do, and I’m looking for partners,” Smith said. “This is a crisis for humanity. We are all equals in this work.” 

Read more: Amber Smith looks to turn small wins into big gains in Inclusion & Equity

Related: Anti-racism resources for white people

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At the University of Indianapolis, we strive to create an environment where everyone can feel safe to share their thoughts, experiences, and aspirations. 

The Office of Inclusion and Equity hosts events for all students throughout the academic year, including #BelongSpace, a vodcast that engages UIndy around current issues affecting underrepresented populations. The office also works along with Registered Student Organizations such as Black Male Initiative, International Student Organization, Black Student Association, Pride, Student Organization of Latinos, etc. to create events for their organizations. 

Contact the Office of Inclusion & Equity at oie@uindy.edu with questions or concerns.