Diversity & Equity Newsletter

November 2020


A Step Up Academy's Diversity & Equity Committee has decided to launch a monthly newsletter with updates, information, and cool resources for parents, families, friends, and staff of ASUA.

Keep an eye on your inbox for these newsletters every month if you want to learn fun and useful information about diversity, equity, and ASUA!

What is The Diversity & Equity Committee?

ASUA's Diversity & Equity Committee is headed by Ev Smith [He/Him], and is comprised of many different staff members who have a shared goal of supporting diversity and equity within our school's culture, as well as around the community. Our meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month, and are open to anyone who wishes to join. Currently we hold in-service trainings for staff members, as well as finding ways to include and celebrate diversity in our daily lives and routines.
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Johns Hopkins Diversity Wheel

Johns Hopkins created this Diversity Wheel that represents internal dimensions that are usually most permanent or visible. The outside wheel represents dimensions that are acquired and change over the course of a lifetime.

What is Diversity?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Diversity as: the condition or instance of having or being composed of differing elements : (VARIETY) especially : the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization, or diversity of ideas.

Why Diversity?

Diversity is a great thing to think about. Not only because we live in a global society, but also because diversity is how we grow and learn new ideas. Every person has something they can teach another person, no matter their identities or background. Since everybody is different, it is important to know about and work for diversity inclusion so that everyone's ideas can be heard.
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Why Equity? Isn't Equality Enough?

Equality for all is something that most people have heard at least once in their life. Equality is the idea that all people are treated the same, with equal access and rights. Treating everyone the same is not necessarily equal access, however.

Here's a good example from a teacher:

Imagine you are in first grade. Your teacher tells you all to pretend you have an injury, but to make up different places. Your first classmate says they hurt their finger, so the teacher puts a bandaid on their finger. For everyone else, no matter where they say their injury is, the teacher puts a bandaid on the same finger as the first kid. This is treating everyone equally.

These kids all got a bandaid, but their actual problem wasn't addressed. Sometimes, people need different things in order to have the same level of access, this is why we need equity.

Equity, in this example, would be that each child got a bandaid wherever their injury actually was, or maybe more than one bandaid if needed, instead of all getting a bandaid in the same spot.

The bandaid could be a metaphor for a lot of things in this situation, but the idea stays the same. Equity is something to strive for so that people can truly be equal.

Diversity & Equity Committee Member Spotlight

Every month this year we will be spotlighting a different member of the Diversity & Equity Committee. In this space they will be able to talk about what they do at ASUA, why they are on the committee, and what they like to do in their free time!

This month's spotlight is Ev, the head of the Diversity & Equity Committee!

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Hi everyone! My name is Evander (Ev) Smith and I use he/him or they/them pronouns.

In my roles at A Step Up Academy, I support the team as Administrative Assistant, assisting with paperwork and other office tasks. I also help with creating signage, flyers, and graphics as needed. As Diversity & Equity Specialist, I am working with the entire team to ensure that ASUA stays up to date with our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I host our Diversity Committee Meeting, where members and guests can bring up concerns and ideas related to diversity, and we can find ways to promote change and growth both in our buildings and our communities.

Outside of ASUA, I run an Etsy store, FabulousFidgets, where I make and sell sensory and fidget items. I sell both online and in person at multiple craft and art fairs around the area annually. FabulousFidgets can be found at FabulousFidgets.etsy.com! I regularly speak and write about my personal experiences being an adult on the autism spectrum, and actively work towards making the world a better, more accommodating, and accepting place for others on the spectrum. In my free time I love kayaking, hiking, camping, embroidery and sewing.

I look forward to working with you all to keep diversity and equity in the minds and actions of our community!

Have A Suggestion?

We have a Diversity & Equity Suggestion Form!

This form is completely anonymous, your email will not be recorded.