Posted by Terri Hodges on Jan 29, 2019
John Farrow introduced our Guest Speaker, Vanessa Yzaguirre, M.A. speaking about Building a Diverse and Inclusive Community at Queen’s.  Vanessa was invited after John saw an article about her in the Queen's Alumni Magazine dedicated to diversity at the University.
 
Vanessa is Special Projects Officer with the Human Rights and Equity Office at Queen's University.. She is originally from Venezuela and joined Queen's after completing a Masters in Gender Studies.  Vanessa task is to work with administrative areas of Queen’s to develop and implement diversity and equity strategies.  Practically, this means trying to understand and respect the diversity of the Queen's community when considering the work they do, the activities they plan and the interactions they have.
 
Vanessa defined the terms human rights (entitlements we share by the simple fact of our humanity), diversity (any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another), equity (the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all) ,and inclusion (the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity), buzz words that we all hear but don't often know the core concepts behind them.  Once we understand what they mean, we need to develop the essential skills of collaboration, empathy, and listening so that we can understand what challenges different groups face and what an organization like Queen's (or a Rotary Club) needs to do to provide an inclusive environment for all.
 
The areas that Queen's must consider are numerous, including but not limited to; Planning Exercises; Policies, Procedures and
Practices,  Committee Representation, Recruitment & Hiring, Supports, Education and Training, Procurement and Delivery of Goods and Services, Communications and Community Relations, Accessibility, and Consulting with Indigenous Communities.
 
Questions:
Heather Kembel– have you worked with the City at all?  Yes, our Director was involved in the “Say Hello” campaign, and ways to move forward with that.
Michelle Chatten-Fiedorec – So important to ask the question: “Do you need some help?”
 
Robert Reid thanked Vanessa on our behalf.  Hopefully her presentation gives us food for thought as to how we can make our club more inclusive and diverse.
 
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