Racial Equality

Following Black History month with time to reflect on the movement towards equality for persons of all races, the newer term “racial equity” generates many questions for those unfamiliar with the concept. Equality has been the goal for many movements and advocates throughout history. It means something different than the newer concept “equity”.

Equity involves trying to understand and give people what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives. Equality, in contrast, aims to ensure that everyone gets the same things in order to enjoy full, healthy lives.1 The difference may seem insignificant, but working towards equality does not ensure the needs of everyone are met as the current system does not allow for everyone to get what they need. Changing the way systems operate by being mindful of racial and cultural differences is pivotal in creating an equitable society.

How do we create a more equitable society in our day-to-day life? Inclusion starts this process by looking to meet the needs of all of its member. Inclusion is not just inviting persons of different races to be part of different groups in society. Inclusion occurs when persons of different races actively participate in groups and feel a sense of belonging. In this scenario, persons of all races will feel part of the same group and have a common agenda and will work on goals that are beneficial to everyone in the group. This is the heart of equity. It is not one group over another, it is the group working together wanting to meet the needs of everyone involved.

Everyone can promote equity by being more open and inviting with persons of other races in your job and interactions in daily life. Learning about other races, being aware of your own racial biases, and working and interacting with others outside of your group will foster new relationships, but ultimately make everyone involved feel more included.

To promote racial equity, we are posting a video presentation by Father Joseph Brown on our Facebook pages to address this topic and provide information. You will be able to view the video from the event on RSVPofSI after the posting. Egyptian Area Agency on Aging is also providing training to the long-term care network of providers through the Southern Illinois Pioneer Coalition and to the Directors of the senior centers in the area’s 13 counties. Our hope is that we can improve relationships and the feeling of inclusion for the seniors in our region.

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¹ AECF.com.

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