Sign Up: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Writing Series

Posted on March 3, 2020

Blog series

Today’s pinch hit Morning Buzz (sorry it’s a smidge late) is by Kirsten Wyatt, ELGL’s executive director. Connect with Kirsten on LinkedIn and Twitter.

  • What I’m Reading: The Guardians by John Grisham
  • What I’m Watching: Legally Blonde 2 (sick kid at home – not my choice)
  • What I’m Listening To: coughing and sneezing

The 2020 Diversity Dashboard survey launches later this month, and as we prepare for this major data collection, I’ve been reading more about the “waves” of feminism and how they relate to ELGL’s efforts to improve the diversity of local government leadership. If you’re not familiar with this concept, it groups the feminist movement into different waves based on the point in time in history or current affairs that the movement occurred.

So, for example, my grandma was part of the first wave, my mom was part of the second wave, and I’m part of the third wave. Some say the fourth wave is now occurring. Here’s a good summary article about the waves.

An interesting distinction between the second and third waves is the expression of feminism and the expectation of equity. Feminist waves and ELGL got me thinking about the way that we expressed our commitment to diversity in our strategic plan adopted in 2019. 

When we talk about diversity, we “promote equity…” We’re not “advocating” for it. We’re not “empowering” people. We have an expectation and we talk about it – a lot. This effort includes the men in our organization who have stepped up as full and equal partners in our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Equity is non-negotiable for ELGL. We have the expectation that we all should be treated equally and we’ll also bang the table for our members who are historically and currently underrepresented in local government leadership.

For me, this comes from a place where I truly believe that womxn and people of color have just as much of a place in the local government leadership as men. I shouldn’t need to justify that with studies on empathy or confidence. I feel to my marrow that equity should be expected.

The Diversity Dashboard is an extension of this: we collect and share this data because we know that what gets measured gets improved, and we can’t expect improvement if we don’t know what the local government leadership landscape looks like.

Enter reality: my beliefs aren’t what’s happening (clearly). We still have generations of people in local government who need unconscious bias training, empowerment conferences, identity seminars, and academic studies about why women and people of color should have a place at the leadership table. 

I’m here for all of it. ELGL exists to make space for all of these approaches (and more) to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work in local government. 

We live our strategic plan and promote equity. And we also realize, as we restart the Diversity Dashboard data collection for this year, that there are many different approaches that our members feel deeply.

In conjunction with the data collection, we’re also starting a new writing series to showcase the many different ways that our members think that we can improve and promote diversity in local government.  

Like me, you probably have some strong ideas about what works (and what doesn’t); or experiences and interactions that you think are effective (or ineffective). Or, you’ve daydreamed of that “magic wand” that could be waved to make your organization more diverse or more open to inclusion efforts.

So, this writing series is for you. We want you to armchair quarterback local government diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Share with ELGL what you want to see in local government and your big hopes and dreams for how we improve. 

We’ll showcase and share your ideas so others can learn from your experiences. As always, anonymous submissions are welcomed if that’s a better way for you to express your ideas. And along the way, we’ll be collecting Diversity Dashboard data and sharing with you our findings. 

Sign up here for the “I Feel This Deeply…” series

Writing prompts:

  • What’s a successful approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) that you’ve experienced or learned about?
  • Related to DEI: what works? What doesn’t?
  • What are effective succession training approaches to prepare the next hire to be a womxn or person of color?
  • Do you fit into the second, third, or fourth wave of feminism? Why?
  • How have your personal experiences shaped your approach to advocating for more diversity in your organization?
  • Give a grade to local government DEI efforts. What would it take to improve that grade by one grade level? More?
  • Who (or what organization) is a role model for you related to DEI? What can we learn from them?

*Note: I’m writing this post about feminism and the role of women in local government leadership, because that’s what I know. Writing for this series is open to anyone who wants to think deeply and share ideas about improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in local government. 

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