Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
YIPA believes that youth work is social justice work. Our mission is rooted in equity. This is our just cause.

As We See It

YIPA acknowledges that systems which favor a particular race, culture, identity, gender, religious affiliation, ability, or socioeconomic status above others are a root cause of discrimination and disadvantages preventing social justice and equality for all.

We do not accept this status quo and we commit ourselves, as an association and as individuals, to be actively antiracist and social justice advocates for all.

Our DEI Values
Belonging – We believe belonging is about building community that reflects diversity, expects equity, and welcomes all to participate, engage, network, and collaborate.
Belonging is at the top of the list because it is so integral to inclusion, it’s not an automatic outcome of diversity. Real inclusion requires intentionality. And belonging – that feeling of being seen, heard, included and valued – is an outcome of intentional inclusion. Everybody wants to feel like they belong – it’s an innate need.

Perseverance – We recognize the challenge of bringing about systemic change may seem an insurmountable task. But if each of us does whatever we can, no matter how small, collectively we all make progress. We will do our part and support others in doing their part.

Fairness – We recognize that not everyone is in the same place in their understanding of equity. We value all diversity and strive for the highest level of inclusion with our team, our board members, and all our association members. Our trainings will be welcoming and accessible to all, recognizing and honoring the fundamental value and dignity of all youth workers and young people. We will provide diverse, intentional, and relevant training content that celebrates the full range of youth work.

Disrupting Status Quo – We are committed to intentionally working to recognize and unlearn systemic norms that support inequality. As antiracist and social justice champions, we advocate for all youth all the time. We seek learning and development opportunities for ourselves and all our association members.

Empathy – We understand that empathy is key to supporting healthy and meaningful dialogue about DEI. By putting ourselves in others’ shoes, we rightly center their perspectives. Empathy helps us bring others along in this journey no matter where they’re starting from, with no shaming or blaming.

Learning – We accept that we have much to learn and unlearn to become effective change agents for achieving equity. It is a life-long process for everyone so we will provide resources to raise awareness about equity challenges and opportunities. Our team and board members will participate in DEI training on racial and gender justice annually.

Accountability – We commit to holding ourselves and each other responsible for prioritizing DEI practices throughout our organization, in everything we do. We will conduct an annual review of our progress.

Transparency – We will openly communicate actionable goals, measure, and report our progress toward those goals.

Learning is at the heart of our DEI initiative.
Our staff and board members are intentional about having ongoing dialogue, training, and cultural exploration as we create a more inclusive association. Our DEI calendar helps us focus our efforts in that direction.

Our Shared Agreements

Reflection: “The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others. That action is the testimony of love as the practice of freedom.” ~ bell hooks

Premise: We are united in our purpose to help YIPA become a more inclusive and equitable organization.

In order for us to do this crucial work, all of us need to be able to bring our own experiences and whole selves to our space, develop a trusting relationship with each other, and have each other’s backs. We create a space where we are allowed to speak up, make mistakes, learn, and move forward to do better.

To do this work, we must fully commit to continually learn about equity and inclusion and further our understanding about all who have been historically marginalized and/or oppressed.

We have adopted the following shared agreements for us to operate in this brave space together.

  1. Assume positive intent, while acknowledging that intent is different than impact.  
  2. “Ouch, Oops” – It is OK to make mistakes; we wish to share what we think openly and courageously, without fear of offending others. We want to be able to make a mistake without fear and to call on each other when we do. (doing so from a place of love and a will to change)
  3. Acknowledge that people come from different experiences, positions, and cultural frameworks as they enter into this work together; we want to hear each other’s vantage points.
  4. We are conscious of who is in the room at all times. We are aware of the power dynamics that arise when some people have more status and/or privilege than others and we seek balance in dialogue. (knowing when to step up and step back)
Please join us in working to make YIPA a community where everyone is welcome, everyone is respected, everyone belongs.