Our Commitment To Inclusive Action Speaking Louder Than Diverse Words
When asked how we, the Co-Founders, wanted women to feel while and after experiencing Let’s Vibe, we looked at our experience as women of color and said:
“We want them to feel like they can let their guard down, slowly slip off their mask, and be embraced in an authentic space during an authentic encounter. We want them to feel that they matter and that their presence is invaluable in this space and beyond. We want them to feel that they’ve gained a home and a space of empowerment meeting enablement. We want them to feel validated, accepted, and heard. We want them to feel that they have the ability to make their dream or idea a reality. We want them to feel that they have the power and ability to design the lives they want to lead.”
Over the past year, our goal has been to create spaces and experiences that both empower and enable underrepresented groups to thrive unapologetically. While we have made strides in pursuit of this goal, we have asked ourselves what we can do to ensure the messaging of Let’s Vibe embodies the principles and the values of our organization. We’ve dived into the experiences of individuals from all sides of the social spectrum asking them how we can improve our efforts in being inclusive of all people who have female-experienced bodies. This is mainly due to the fact this this is immensely important to us and the work that we do. From those discussions, we learned that:
There are descriptors attributed to the traditional identifier of “woman” that exclude members of our community who identify as LGBTQIA regardless of the intent behind it; for example, the sole inclusion of the preferred pronoun of “she, her, hers” without considering non-binary, gender-neutral, and gender-fluid preferences.
Just because one does not identify as “female” as does not mean that they are excluded from experiencing oppression parallel to those of women due to societal ideology.
The definition and functionality of an “ally” is ever-expanding and essential to coalition-building.
In order to be effective at designing inclusive, collaborative, and innovative solutions and environments for both our members and our partners/clients (a) empathy must be intersectional, (b) personal expression must be embraced at all times and leveraged for the benefit of improving quality of life and progression, and (c) work must done on the ends of both our members and our partners/clients to challenge one another to go beyond our comfort and norms in order to enact real change and effective impact.
We must hold ourselves, our organization and our partners/clients accountable to positively impacting the lives and narratives of underrepresented groups in a tangible way.
Irrespective of identifying as underrepresented, we each play a role in nurturing and developing our fellow women during our collective and individual journeys both personally and professionally.
We will never know it all and to further explore opportunities of being the student.
We reflected upon these findings in relation to our why, remembering the importance of living out our purpose as an organization so that others may do the same. Now, we are full-circle.
Our purpose is to focus on creating solutions that aid in closing the leadership and equity gap for women, while also curating spaces where people are represented and included irrespective of how they identify and prescribe.
We understand that our perspective (mostly stemming from cis female view) must be intentional in thought and action with regard to the ways we communicate and lead this organization. No member of an underrepresented group is obligated to educate others on the impact of systemic oppression on their lives; however, we welcome and encourage those willing to share their perspectives and lived experiences to help us and our partners/clients delve deeper into our understanding of the change, effort, and action necessary to move the needle on closing the gap.
We are committed to ensuring that we better our messaging and communication so that our intent is reflected through action. We can do better and are committed to doing so. Committing ourselves to this work will increase the effectiveness of our impact and the value we bring to both our community and to our partners/clients. Moving forward, we will:
Define “woman” as one who has a female-experienced body and/or who may female-identify in a way that is significant to their body, personhood, personal and professional development, and impact and/or who may be impacted by the systemic dynamics in which infringe upon the freedom and human rights of those traditionally identified by society as “woman” or “female”
Investigate and address our personal biases and privilege on a continual basis
Listen to, amplify, and incorporate the voices of women and underrepresented communities into our decision making
Examine the privileges we have as an organization and using them to shift power to underrepresented groups whenever we can
Reduce barriers that disempower women and weaken our ability to drive change together
Increase access to Let’s Vibe and our partners/clients for a greater variety of underrepresented women locally, nationally, and internationally
Develop within our community, staff, and partners/clients an understanding of how oppression operates globally, domestically, within the holistic framework of personal and professional development in addition to access to basic resources and equity
Build onto our understanding of the ways in which marginalized and underrepresented groups are systematically prevented from advancing in both their personal and professional lives through:
Feedback labs with organizations that serve underrepresented groups
Annual pro bono total of 24 hours dedicated to advancing the mission, goals, operations, and/or functionality of organizations focused on alleviating issues faced by underrepresented and/or under-resourced groups
Incorporate a combined intersectional, collaborative, and innovative lens into our practices, cultivation and design work
Ensure the spaces in which we hold experiences and the people with which we partner align with our values and our mission, and embrace women no matter (though not limited to) their gender expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, creed, disability, nationality or place of origin, age
Hold our partners/clients accountable for the work they come to us to do through measurable outcomes analyzed through partner/client impact surveys and quarterly reviews
Let’s Vibe commits to embodying this commitment in everything that we do from programming and client work to the lives we are impacting on a local and global scale. Ensuring that we effectively uphold and grow in our knowledge and implementation of inclusivity is life-long work that requires ongoing commitment from individuals, communities, institutions, and partners. Therefore, this is a living document to be revised as our understanding of inclusivity and its role in the movement for leadership & equity evolves.