by Ionia Wilson, Program Specialist
In February 2021, the JEDI committee (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) was officially formed by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona as a way to keep the momentum going after several weeks of DEI training for our staff. It was suggested as a way to keep awareness an active part of our organizational culture and with a few staff volunteers, it became just that!
When most think of JEDI, they immediately think of racism or sexism. The reality is that JEDI is greater than just race and gender/sexuality but expands to language, ability, age, economics, and every other difference that impacts the day-to-day work environment. The focus is to create an environment that promotes justice, diversity, equality, and inclusiveness for everyone. It is the responsibility of the committee to put in the effort to make sure that there are safe spaces for conversation, stay up to date with current events, acknowledge holidays that impact different communities, and present opportunities to grow and learn as a unit through panels, training, open conversation, and lastly but most importantly action. Even for those not on the committee, JEDI is still the responsibility of every employee because everyone and their differences contribute to making Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona successful!
Since becoming active this Spring, the JEDI committee has hit the ground running by creating change for BBBS of Central Arizona. For the month of April, the committee hosted a Women in Mentoring virtual panel (view the recording here) showcasing several women leaders in our community of diverse experiences and backgrounds. The JEDI committee also spent the month of June creating a safe space for conversation on challenging gender norms and attending several Juneteenth events around the city! The JEDI community hopes to continue on this path of change and encourage others to join in this effort by attending events or expressing any new ideas.