Racism extends beyond individual prejudice and discrimination to include systemic oppression, social and institutional power and advantage to only one group, disparities that occur based on racial differences, and systems and policies that favor one group over others (Lemon, 2020). This extension of the definition of racism allows us to address workplace policies that can promote diversity and inclusion.
In Indiana, systemic racism shows up in the disproportionate number of black and brown youth who are involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare system. Black and Hispanic youth are 3.5 and 1.5 times more likely to be referred to court than the average youth (Indiana Juvenile Justice Plan, 2018-2020). Indiana students of color face more frequent and more severe school disciplinary actions and there are significant academic achievement gaps between white students and students of color (Indiana Department of Education, 2020). Additionally, a significant body of research has documented the overrepresentation of certain racial and ethnic groups in the child welfare system relative to their representation in the general population (Cénat et al., 2020; Ganasarajah et al., 2017; Wells, 2011)
There are several ways we can infuse Diversity, Equity and Inclusion into our work and our workplace and serve as strong advocates for youth of color who face the additional challenges and barriers identified above.
First and foremost, we can take a stand to be a strong voice within our communities.
Indiana Youth Services Association and our partners have created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Youth Curriculum and training for participating youth-serving organizations.
Training Part One: Activity Plans Online Modules
The Youth Curriculum consisting of 28 different youth activities was developed by subject-matter-expert, Favorite Part of My Day. Cassandra Porter, CEO of Favorite Part of My Day, facilitates individual modules for the use of each activity.
The 28 online modules will guide you through an explanation of each activity from the curriculum kit. Some modules are specific to age groups, and others are applicable to all age groups.
You will get access to all 28 modules to complete at your own pace. Modules range from 5 or 6 minutes to just over 30 minutes in length. You should complete all 28 modules.
Training Part Two: How to Talk About Race and Racism with Youth
Many DEI initiatives fail because some people, especially white people, are uncomfortable talking about race and racism (DiAngelo, 2018). However, to create true equity and inclusion and an appreciation of diversity, we must become comfortable with this discomfort and create safe, honest spaces for conversations about these topics.
Michael Fleischman, a DEI subject-matter expert, will facilitate training on How to Talk About Race and Racism with Youth. The format for this training will vary. Participants can attend a two-day seminar or once a week virtual session for eight weeks offered at various times throughout the year.
Training Part Three: Training of Trainers (TOT)
The Training of Trainers will provide you with guidance and practice for presenting the activities in person. The 2-day TOT session can be completed concurrently with Part Two.
Once you have completed all three parts and the appropriate documentation, you will be provided with the packaged Youth Curriculum Kit which will include the instructions, handouts, and some supplies for all 28 activities.
Indiana Youth Services Association invites you to join us in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative. All training and resources are provided free of charge, but we ask agencies and youth workers to make a sincere commitment to the action steps required.
If you would like more information or would like to commit to becoming a partner in this work, please contact Robin Donaldson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all you do for Indiana youth.