Jonathan Sattin, founder of triyoga, shares the work we are doing on the vital topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and next steps.
As I promised in my update on 18th June, I would like to share the work we are doing on the vital topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and progress we are making.
I’ve come to understand that this process is both a learning and even an unlearning one, which is not about appearance but about where necessary, a perceptual and culture change.
In the last week we had the training course I mentioned in my previous note, with the esteemed Dr Stacie Graham, in antiracism and unconscious bias with our board, head office team and all the entire teams from all five of our centres. This included the latest information on diversity and inclusion in the fields of psychology, cultural sociology and history and ethnic studies. Despite all the pressure on reopening, we took the decision that this training was the highest priority.
We all learned a lot and felt the level of personal challenge, beginning in my case when I was asked to identify myself at the commencement of the class; I answered, ‘My name is Jonathan and I am a male’. I now know that identity is more complex and I should have said, ‘My name is Jonathan and my pronouns are ‘he’ and ‘him’…’ it’s not who you are but what you identify as that is important. I now understand that there is a range of opinions on most elements for example some prefer the terminology ‘BAME’, others ‘BIPOC’. For me, it contrasted sharply with the learning I did at Law School, where I could learn something by rote without really ‘getting it’. This was an opening to a different way of perceiving, feeling and experiencing others. There were very powerful and evocative nuggets that have resonated for me and I’m sure all of us. The feedback from attendees was very positive and I would like to thank Dr Stacie for an excellent session.
Next step is that all the senior team have started working through the suggested reading list, which if any of you would like to complete I would be happy to share with you. The next action, following Dr Stacie’s advice, is a planned DEI survey to take place by 10th August which will go to scheduled teachers, therapists and triyoga employees. We want this to be thorough and provide us with the factual data on our diversity and inclusivity profile. We recognise that it will take some time to chase and collate but Dr Stacie’s advice has given us a powerful and empirical tool to analyse our current situation and plan future activity – and we will come back to you on this.
In addition, I have asked Dr Stacie to review a representative selection of our marketing, communications and teacher training materials to establish whether there has been any unconscious bias in how we have designed and formatted these previously. If there have been issues we will factor the new learning into future materials to fully support our drive for inclusivity.
The senior team will then have a strategy session, in order to develop specific deliverables, with a road map and milestones for review across Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. From this we will have a framework for the 3 – 5 prioritised processes that need to be addressed immediately.
This for me is about learning, imbibing and action which myself and my team are committed to. I will update you as we progress on this journey of change and as always will be grateful for your feedback.