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Intersectionality and DEI

Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term ‘intersectionality’ in her 1989 article, Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics. A prolific lawyer and scholar of civil rights, critical race theory, and Black feminist law theory, Crenshaw codified the term to raise awareness to the fact that humans are multifaceted beings that interact with interconnected systems and power structures differently. Intersectionality asks us where do our identities intersect with social and economic institutions that are inherently oppressive and discriminatory? How do the communities we serve interact with these institutions? The experiences we all have as we navigate laws, policies, government institutions, school, work and interpersonal relationships vary so widely because of our individual identities and how we are perceived by others.

When we think critically about the intersections between climate change and race, class, gender identity, etc., we can really root into our values as organizations that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work. Embracing intersectionality is an opportunity to deepen our commitments to DEI by exposing inequities and systemic failures to flip the status quo. Intersectionality is one tool of many that we have to avoid replicating existing social and economic power structures that perpetuate oppression and discrimination.

What is this resource?
This is a DEI learning resource that includes one pre-work activity to be completed individually and two group exercises on personal identity, power, and privilege. It is meant for organizations that are early in their DEI learning who are developing an understanding of the foundations of DEI. It can also be adapted for individual learning.

Who is it for?

  • Executive Directors
  • DEI Leads
  • DEI Committees

What will you gain through this resource?

  • Define intersectionality and why it is important to DEI learning.
  • Individual reflection and group dialogue on personal identity, power, and privilege.
  • How intersectionality relates to your role and your organization.
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Intersectionality and DEI Activity

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Contact: Cairá Lee Conner-Ware, TREC

Background Image: Raincoast Conservation Foundation | Jamen Rhodes

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