As an organization, CDN has always valued transparency and growth, but we have also existed within a historically privileged system - higher education - and we recognize that our demographics reflect that system. Ensuring young adults with diabetes are living a healthy life so they can pursue their dreams without compromise, requires that we take greater strides in including all people in our network -- those of different races, socioeconomic backgrounds, and from the LGBTQ+ community need to feel valued in CDN’s community.
Internally, we have been building a plan to better address this issue of representation and accessibility for more than a year. While we are excited to share the full details of our plan soon, we invite you, our community, to be a part of our efforts to ensure that we are a diverse and equitable organization.
For 2021, we have developed the following items that we will be implementing immediately:
- Mandatory DEI training for all Chapter leaders that includes a reflective self-evaluation at the conclusion of the training. Watch our first Chapter Network DEI training here!
- Developing a pilot to deliver CDN REACH™ materials to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
- Outreach assistance for Chapters to connect with Black Student Unions, campus cultural and diversity centers, LGBTQ+ groups, and other organizations.
- Assess and update language on our website and in our materials to be more inclusive of people of all backgrounds. We recently released our Off to College guides in Spanish!
- Improve representation of BIPOC students on our website and in our materials.
- Prioritize diverse perspectives, experiences, and stories featured on our blogs.
- Implement bi-annual DEI training for all CDN staff and Board of Directors.
- Require NextGen leaders attending conferences to participate in at least one session related to race, gender, sexuality, or socioeconomic status in order to foster their professional development and help them to be more empathetic and culturally aware.
- Develop and publish a new “Transition to Independence” series for young adults with diabetes who are in any stage of their transition to independence - whether it be going to a four year college, community college, entering the workforce, or young people living independently that are not attending college.
As we enter our second decade as an organization, we will also be assessing and updating our strategic plan to implement longer term changes, including seeking consulting assistance to meaningfully and intentionally increase the diversity of perspectives, experiences, and identities within our board and our staff.
We are committed to the involvement of our community in the development of our programs in order to best serve the variety of constituencies that we work with. We encourage your feedback, ideas, and suggestions as we work to become a more just, inclusive, and representative organization within the diabetes community!
We look forward to doing the necessary work required to help dismantle the systemic issues that impact the health and lives of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and underrepresented young adults with diabetes. By increasing our knowledge, awareness and understanding, together we can foster an environment where everyone can show up without fear of being their true selves.