DEI, REDI, IDEA, JEDI, DEIA, READI, EDI
There are a whole lot of ways to talk about equity, diversity, and inclusion. So many, you might be asking yourself, “why are there so many different acronyms for this work?” or “why did AA&M choose EDI to talk about what they do?”
Working to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion is a deeply personal journey. The world certainly doesn’t make it easy and it can equally be the most rewarding and the most exhausting thing you can do. You aren’t committed to it because it will make you a lot of money or has great perks. This work is about a passion, a fire that comes from deep within, tied to your deepest personal values. Because of this, we all choose names for this work that we feel a personal connection with.
”This work is about a passion, a fire that comes from deep within, tied to your deepest personal values.
Originally, much of this work fell under the moniker of diversity training or consulting (often with a capital D). During this time, much of the focus fell on increasing representation in businesses and organizations, without much focus on the systems that reinforce that under-representation. Over time, inclusion – making sure people’s voices were heard and counted – was added in order to begin to address those systems, and for a while it was Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) training and consulting.
Eventually, we realized that wasn’t going far enough. People’s voices needed to be heard not necessarily equally, but equitably instead. Only then would folks from communities that have less access and resources, historically and/or present, have a real say and feel true belonging. So, equity was added as another key concept for this work, and DEI consulting and training was born (luckily, nobody thought it would be a good idea to do DIE as the acronym).
Over time, folks have added more letter to highlight additional core terms for achieving justice in the world around us. A – added for accessibility – became IDEA. J – added for Justice – became JEDI. R – for racism – became READI. We’re sure there are more out there, and that this language will continue to evolve as the needs for creating a more just and equitable world change.
”... this language will continue to evolve as the needs for creating a more just and equitable world change.
So why do we go with EDI? There’s a few reasons. One is we really like leading with equity. For us, cultural equity is a core concept that more people need to know about and focus on. Without work towards equitable systems and outcomes, we will continue to perpetuate the many hierarchies present in society. Another reason is we feel accessibility, justice, and racism are all concepts that reside also in equity, diversity, and inclusion. And, we think it’s fabulous that other folks are highlighting these with their acronyms!
For us it boils down to a final bit – simplicity. We are designers at heart and find that sometimes simple messages can be the most effective. That equity, diversity, and inclusion harmonize to create belonging in an organization is a powerful message, and we love sharing it. We celebrate folks finding their own language for this work, the words that resonate most with their heart and values. Our movement is a beautiful chorus of voices, and it’s in that multiplicity that our future lies.