The differences among us based on which we experience systemic advantages or encounter systemic barriers in access to opportunities and resources. Race and ethnicity is not the only way in which we are diverse as a group. There are countless visible and invisible facets of diversity. Furthermore, a person cannot be “diverse” (as in “diverse candidate”). Diversity is the outcome of inclusion and equity efforts.
An approach based in fairness to ensuring everyone has access to the same opportunities and resources. In practice, it ensures everyone is given equal opportunity to thrive; this means that resources may be divided and shared unequally to make sure that each person can access an opportunity. Equity is therefore not the same thing as equality. Equity takes into account that people have different access to resources because of system of oppression and privilege. Equity seeks to balance that disparity.
Celebrating, centering, and amplifying the perspectives, voices, values, and needs of people who experience systemic barriers, mistreatment, or disadvantages based on their identities in order to ensure they feel a sense of belonging. Inclusion is not merely tolerating or accommodating differences; it’s about actively valuing and honoring it. Inclusion is also not about surmounting, overcoming, or transcending differences to focus on “our common humanity.” Diversity is what we are, and inclusion is what we do.
AOTA. (2021). Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Word Bank. American Occupational Therapy Association. https://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/AboutOT/DEI/DEI-Toolkit-ASD-Word-Bank.pdf.
Taff, S. D., & Blash, D. (2017). Diversity and inclusion in occupational therapy: Where we are, where we must go. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 31, 72–83. https://doi.org/10.1080/07380577.2016.1270479 [Article] [PubMed]
Interested in this process?
Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon would love for you to join us in our efforts toward diversity, equity & inclusion.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon (OTAO) stands in solidarity with all people who are impacted by racial disparity, oppression, and bigotry. We are constantly reminded of the intensity and depth of the racism that permeates our communities and culture. We denounce all forms of hatred, violence and disrespect toward human beings. Our stance is consistent with AOTA’s statement on justice and racism, which can be found here. OTAO is actively working towards enacting change in our communities, profession, and organization.
We encourage our members and prospective members to explore ways in which we, as occupational therapy practitioners, educators and students, can enact change in our communities and country to address issues of systematic racism. We welcome the opportunity to further engage in this challenging conversation: what is your experience? How can we move forward to make a difference?