September 16, 2021. Our program featured members of the newly-formed District 7430 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Joining us were Daniel Watson-Bey (Harleysville), Peter Jones (Blue Bell), Mary Onama (Norristown), Mary Ellen Mahan (Twin Valley), and our own Gayle Rogers. The purpose of the presentation was to start a conversation on how to become a welcoming Club by Embracing DEI.
Diversity itself is a complex issue. Recognizing the differences that make each of us unique is not as easy as it sounds. Some elements are physical and easily identified such as gender, race, and age. Too often, that is where the focus begins and ends. There are many unseen factors that need to be considered such as physical ability, religion, education, social status, background, values, sexual orientation, culture, and more. The notion of equity recognizes that not all people benefit from the exact same level of support. Equity is the active removal of barriers to promote fair treatment, opportunity, and advancement for all, regardless of background. Inclusion means achieving a Club environment in which all individuals feel they are treated fairly and have an equal opportunity to contribute to the Club’s success.
Rotary Clubs in North America are constantly searching for new members. One of the barriers to people wanting to join could be the atmosphere of the Club itself. In order to attract people of all backgrounds, a Club needs to create an environment where everyone is appreciated and has a chance to succeed.