Societal and Cultural Equity and Belongingness

One of the tracks for the Cultural Competent Conversations on Equity and Belongingness (C3EB) Summit is societal and cultural equity. This track largely focuses on some of the inequalities and inequities built within our society. The implications of these inequities are often overlooked because you have to consider the ripple effect they have on our society. We have a fantastic group of speakers for this track. 

What Does Social and Cultural Equity Mean?

While there is some overlap, societal and cultural equity cover two different areas. Let’s take a look at them individually. 

Societal or Social Equity

Social equity activists seek to address the systemic imbalances that exist in our society with regard to social goods and services. In this case, social equity doesn’t mean that everyone is treated as if they’re the same, because we aren’t. Social equity gives everyone the same access to social goods and services regardless of how much money they make, their religion, skin color, and more. 

Additionally, you can see social inequity in some of the behaviors ingrained in our society. For example, how did calling the police on someone become a deeper threat to certain segments of our society? 

Cultural Equity

Cultural equity seeks to ensure that all people are considered and represented in the creation of arts policy, access to venues of expression, and receipt of information and resources.

Historically, marginalized groups haven’t had equal representation in all art forms, from classic painting to film. Many cities periodically evaluate their cultural arts approach and policy. Now is the time to make sure all of a city’s people are present in its artwork.

Let’s take a look at how cultural inequity may present in our day-to-day lives. How does your company handle religious holidays outside of “mainstream” religions? Do your employees get time off for those, or must they take paid time off? Does your school excuse students on those holidays, or must they take an unexcused absence on their record? 

Cultural and social equity means that people will be able to show up as their full selves everywhere. 

Bringing Equity to Those Who Don’t Have It

“You have to be twice as good to get half as much.”

Briona Jenkins gave me that quote when I asked how social inequity has impacted marginalized communities. Bri is an activist for the LGBTQIA+, women, and people of color communities. “We have to fight so much to be seen, heard, and acknowledged.” 

She went on to explain that the powers that be set up our current social system in such a way that portions of our society don’t have the same opportunity to get ahead as others. The system has consistently failed various segments of our communities. Therefore, different organizations have taken up the helm to bring equity to everyone. 

Those who work for social equity are making space for those who didn’t have space before. As Dr. AJ told me during an interview, “Inclusion and equity aren’t finite. Creating an inclusive society and giving equity to minorities, LGBTQIA+, or people with visible and invisible disabilities doesn’t take anything away from those who already have it.”

Briona Jenkins is one of the  C3EB Summit keynote speakers and Dr. AJ is the Summit’s creator. Sign up for the summit to learn more about social and cultural equity, it’s lack in our communities, and the changes you can help make in your home, school, and workplace.

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