DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
Within the past 18 months, I have developed a passion for amplifying institutional values and culture, particularly those related to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
As an out gay theatre artist, issues of diversity have always been at the core of my creative vision and have influenced many of my programming decisions as a producer. Some of the work I am proudest of not only deals with subjects related to DEI, but involved invaluable community partnerships with nonprofits such as GLSEN, Mental Health America, Paraquad, Pride St. Louis, PFLAG-Greater St. Louis, the Japan Foundation, The Lysistrata Project, and CODEPINK.
When I worked as a Communications Specialist for the Nokia North American Community Involvement division between 2006-08, I was introduced to all of the ways corporations can give back to society, whether through charitable giving, employee volunteerism, matching gifts, and education/youth development.
Then, after I moved back to St. Louis in fall 2014 in the immediate wake of the Michael Brown murder, I learned firsthand how inextricably linked these concepts are to issues of justice and that they are matters of life or death for underrepresented members of our communities.
In 2022, I became involved with a learning and development project linked to digital accessibility and sponsored by Deque University. My curiosity soon became an impulse and then a necessity to learn as much as I could, leading to the earning of 11 professional certifications and a desire to ultimately pursue a certification from the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP). I am also currently enrolled in several DEI certification and specialization programs from IE University, Rice University, The New School, and University of Colorado Boulder.
These different threads at the heart of my many selves have begun to weave a tapestry of unheard voices, unseen faces, and untouched lives.
2022 also began an exploration of my own ideas about how diversity, equity, access, inclusion, belonging, advocacy, and justice are transformative values for individuals and institutions, and that while many organizations think that acceptance is the ultimate goal, when it is just the beginning of a long journey that will change you again and again. Tied with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, we cannot ignore the essential human urgency and obligation we share for those who we may see as the most different from ourselves.
I am hoping to conduct some research and eventually write a book about my theories an strategies.
Like the many facets of the LGBTQIA+ population, DEI is not just an acronym. It is a prism through which the vast spectrum of background and experience is refracted. It is a frame within which our worlds can be confined or exploded.
Culture, ethnicity, race, nationality, sex, gender, age, sexual orientation, dis/ability, neurodiversity, religion, income, education, familial and marital status, social class, and many more are just the tip of the iceberg of human experience.
I hope to become more actively involved in organizational DEI efforts both in my career and my personal community involvement, especially once my husband and I move to Rochester, NY, in 2024.