Protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, violence against Asian Americans, and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our communities of color have renewed critical conversations about structural inequities in this country—and begun a rapidly growing movement among businesses, governments, schools, and other entities to condemn intolerance and racism and commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Indiana University adamantly believes that the opportunity to live and work in a world that builds upon the contributions of everyone is not just a privilege but a right of life. This belief is the catalyst behind a new initiative called Together, We Commit.
The effort features a symbolic pledge representing IU’s commitment to creating learning environments that advocate access, success, respect, equity, inclusiveness, and community for all. Specifically, the pledge seeks to build awareness, to educate, and to inspire community members to learn and grow while at IU and beyond.
“Universities have a special obligation to do everything possible to ensure that campus communities are places where differences of all kinds—whether of race, ethnicity, identity, orientation, ability, beliefs, or any other personal characteristics—are respected, valued, and protected and hatred, bigotry, and intolerance powerfully condemned,” says James Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs; dean of The University Graduate School; and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership. “IU campuses are a microcosm of our larger society. Like our society, we know IU is not perfect, but we work diligently to make it so. This effort is another extension of this work.”
Designed to complement Indiana University’s anti-racist agenda, the Together, We Commit initiative provides a more individualized and personal experience that focuses on the words and actions of IU’s community members. A soft launch for Together, We Commit will begin April 1, with a more comprehensive, follow-up launch in August.
Six core points encompass the pledge. They are:
- To be aware of the bias in my language and actions.
- To never make assumptions about the race, sexuality, gender, country of origin, religious belief/faith practices, ability, or socioeconomic status of those I meet.
- To understand and acknowledge the race, sexuality, gender, religion, gender, age, education, ability, or socioeconomic privileges I have and use them to uplift others.
- To call out and take the appropriate steps to report bias, hate, and intolerance.
- To never be content, to learn and grow wherever I can.
- To be better than I was yesterday.
Individuals who take this pledge commit to a lifelong journey to improve themselves and to be an ally for those who experience social injustices. While this is an individual journey, it is important to recognize that it is a shared journey. Some people may be just starting, while others are further along. Whatever stage one may be in, no one is alone.
This pledge is the result of months of hard work on the part of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (OVPDEMA) and dedicated members of the IU community who have a passion for equity, inclusion, and diversity.
Please take a moment to learn about and sign the pledge. Together, we can make a difference.