As the leader of a remarkable group of individuals responsible for communicating and marketing on behalf of UC Davis, I’m pleased to launch this blog to document our collective commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion. Each of us in the Office of Strategic Communications will take a turn writing about our DEI actions and what we’re learning along the way.
We began this journey together in 2016, when we rededicated ourselves to the Principles of Community through online training and a workshop with DEI experts on campus. We read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates in 2018 and Evicted by Matthew Desmond in 2019. We spent time reflecting on these books and how they each informed our deeper understanding of ourselves and our communities.
By 2020, in the midst of the pandemic and the national spotlight on racial and social injustices, we decided to take a bolder step forward. We agreed that we were ready to go from passive learning to active doing (and learning). We crafted a DEI ally statement and action plan to document and measure our progress. I charged two committees to make recommendations on how we’d implement our plan. By early July, we were set and ready to “go public” with our plan.
We acknowledged that each of us has a role in infusing DEI into our work, and each of us is accountable for implementing the plan. We intend to share what we’ve learned in a variety of ways, including developing best practices for ourselves and other communicators. We are open to ideas and feedback.
Finally, I want to emphasize that our DEI plans are the collaborative work of the Office of Strategic Communications. We each had a role in developing, discussing and deciding how to proceed. We each have an equal stake in our collective success.