Right Now with Kevin Teater
- What I’m Listening to – Dancing with Tears in My Eyes by Blended Colours
- What I’m Reading – Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
- What I’m Watching – People reconnecting with old friends in physically-distant spaces
- What I’m Doing – Riding my bike a lot farther than I ever thought I would
The Beauty of Inclusion
Building an equity strategy for a community
*To see the prequel to this article, read “Starting from Scratch” here.
I was scared. I was legitimately nervous about what we were about to do.
But I knew it had to be done. And it had to be done right.
I had just pulled together a team of 13 community members to advise my organization on the creation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies and plans, and I was not sure where the conversation would go. I am extremely grateful for two of these community members, Jenna and Carolyne, who volunteered to help facilitate the conversation.
I knew that I could trust the people present, but I did not want to let them down. I did not want to represent yet another organization that over-promised and under-delivered true solutions to inequity.
The creation of these DEI policies and plans for our organization is one of the most important projects I will ever support during my time with the Beaverton Downtown Association.
And yet, I know that this is not my project. This is the team’s project.
These policies and plans must do more than just sit on a shelf, never used. They must become ingrained within our entire organization, including within the very mission statement that expresses why we exist.
I know I say this a lot. But it bears constant repeating.
Downtowns are for everyone.
Downtowns have historically been the shared neighborhoods of cities. You belong here.
We are now halfway through the process of creating these DEI policies and plans, and I am beyond excited about this team’s work. Their perspective, intelligence, wisdom, and lived experience has dramatically changed the trajectory of our organization and of our impact on the community.
I still get anxious before each meeting, but I wouldn’t change that. I feel the burden. I treasure this burden.
And yet, I am not alone.
That’s the beauty of inclusion. That’s the beauty of community. That’s why this is so important. That’s why 13 community members volunteered their time to this effort.
We will get this right.
Kevin Teater is the executive director of the Beaverton (Oregon) Downtown Association and has been an ELGL member since 2017.