Break the Bias: NYJL Unlocks Awareness

On Monday, October 30, the Social Equity committee presented their first workshop of the NYJL volunteer year on unconscious bias with a focus on racial and ethnic identities. The workshop provided NYJL members with the tools to understand their bias, methods to retrain mindsets, and educate others on unconscious bias. The Social Equity committee partnered with The CLU Studio to facilitate the workshop. Founded by Steffon Issacs, The CLU Studio facilitates interactive workshops, training sessions, and innovative games designed to help organizations like the NYJL address unconscious bias. What truly sets the organization apart is its unwavering focus on individual barriers to DEI, with the ultimate goal of changing mindsets and creating truly inclusive environments.

The CLU Studio provided a holistic overview of unconscious bias and addressed three types of bias: individual, institutional, and structural bias. The workshop consisted of an educational component to understand each type of bias and an interactive portion to discuss and apply the material. Throughout the workshop, NYJL members actively participated in partner and group activities to discuss their individual biases and biases they have perceived. The workshop provided a safe space for NYJL members to share their experiences with bias. By sharing personal stories, NYJL members were able to adjust their preconceived notions that contribute to unconscious biases.

Unconscious bias is oftentimes not based on just one form of identity, (i.e. such as ability, gender, and race) but from multiple identities combined to form preconceived notions of an individual. With such a multifaceted issue, it is essential to understand all forms of identity. To continue educating NYJL volunteers, the Social Equity committee will present two more workshops this year on LGBTQIA+ Identities and Understanding Neurodivergence. NYJL strives to be an inclusive organization with properly trained volunteers to enable work with all communities. NYJL will continue to support educational opportunities, such as the Social Equity workshops, to ensure members have the tools to address community partners’ needs.

The Social Equity committee was founded in 2021 in the wake of the societal reckoning taking place in the U.S. and around the world during the COVID-19 Pandemic. NYJL’s membership expressed a deep and sustained interest in working more directly on social equity initiatives and in supporting the New York Junior League’s deep commitment to community and advocacy work in thoughtful, intersectional ways.

The mission of the Social Equity Committee is to develop policy and programming through research, education, training, and engagement related to social justice change in New York. Members take a multi-pronged approach to work both internally and externally in identifying, debating, iterating, and refining proposals for educational initiatives, policy priorities, and collaborations that move the NYJL’s community impact forward in innovative ways. We look forward to continuing to develop programming that enriches our volunteer community.