by Rabbi Myriam Klotz and Rev SeiFu Singh-Molares
On Behalf of the SDI Board of Directors
The Board of Directors identified work around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) as one of the key initiatives for SDI as an organization moving forward. To be clear, we feel this work is of paramount importance in all the regions and geographic areas of SDI, as it reflects a broad invitation into the SDI Community, regardless of religious or spiritual background, ethnicity, gender identity, nationality, and other affiliations. We also want to note that is of special importance to us to hold up the indigenous communities on whose land we all live. And finally, we want to center our work internationally to tackle anti-racism, anti-discrimination, fairness, equity and justice everywhere, regardless of the particular terms employed and aware of the uniqueness of cultural contexts in which such efforts are undertaken.
Here are some of the initiatives SDI has initiated over the last two years around DEIJ:
- We held our first broad DEIJ foray at our 2022 conference, with the inclusion of many notable voices from people of colour, such as Dr Cornell West, Valarie Kaur, Yavilah McCoy, Woman Stands Shining (Pat McCabe), Ayo Yetunde.
- We held a DEIJ training webinar for white folks to learn about white privilege and how it manifests, led by Jane Vennard, with over 400 people attending.
- We held initial training for the Board and Staff of SDI in November 2022.
- We have hired two more people of colour onto the staff of SDI in the last two years, bringing the total to four of us out of twelve core staff.
- The board is currently in the process of finalizing a thorough review of the SDI bylaws to update them on various fronts, including as seen through a DEIJ lens
And here are some of the DEIJ plans and collective discernments we are envisioning for the future:
- The board has decided that the third day of our 2023 conference will be a DEIJ training opportunity for all attendees, both in person and online (currently pending board approval). This effort will be led by Pamela Ayo Yetunde and Kelley Alexander. More information about this is forthcoming very soon.
- The creation of a working committee to include a key board representative, the executive director, and various SDI consultants to form the backbone of our DEIJ efforts moving forward.