Inclusive, Diverse, and Socially Just NCFR: Future Planning for IDC Special Sessions

Winter 2016 Inclusion and Diversity Committee Update
Author
Soyoung Lee, Christi McGeorge, and Sandy Bailey,* Inclusion and Diversity Committee Members
Content Area
Diversity and Inclusion

Since 2013, when the NCFR membership began electing members to the Inclusion and Diversity Committee (IDC), the IDC has been experimenting with various organizational tools to foster discussions about inclusion, diversity, and social justice issues. In our opinion, one of the most successful outcomes of this process was the creation of NCFR conference sessions solely devoted to current and relevant issues pertaining to inclusion, diversity, and social justice.

After the IDC article "'I can't breathe,' A Call for Dialogue and Action" was featured in the spring 2015 NCFR Report (ncfr.org/ncfr-report/current-issue/i-cant-breathe-call-dialogue-and-action), the IDC offered the first special session during the 2015 NCFR Annual Conference: "Social Justice Strategies of Family Researchers and Professionals in the Age of Ferguson" (ncfr.org/ncfr-report/current-issue/inclusion-and-diversity-committee-report-spring-2016). After receiving positive feedback from the NCFR membership, the IDC held its second special session during the 2016 conference: "Social Justice Strategies to Address the Elephant in the Classroom or the Family Room: Race and Racism in America." This session served as a continuing conversation about social justice actions that family scholars and practitioners can actively engage in to begin to address incidents of racism. To facilitate more active and focused conversations, this second session consisted of a series of roundtables, each focusing on a topic related to the experiences of racial minorities.

These sessions have become an important way for the IDC to partner with many of NCFR's sections to bring current topics to all members of NCFR. In particular, eight sections cosponsored the IDC session in 2015; nine sponsored the 2016 special session. Through these sessions, the IDC recognized the following:

  • NCFR members welcome a session focused solely on issues related to inclusion, diversity, and social justice.
  • The IDC special sessions provide a more effective way for all sections and focus groups to collectively express their support for inclusion, diversity, and social justice through sponsorship.
  • The IDC special sessions highlight the work NCFR members are doing to address inclusion, diversity, and social justice issues. As other professional organizations inform their membership about these important issues, the IDC special sessions provide an excellent platform for NCFR to actively exhibit efforts to emphasize inclusion, diversity, and social justice.

The NCFR Board of Directors also recognized the importance of these sessions. The board recently agreed to assign a slot on the NCFR conference agenda for a special session on inclusion, diversity, and social justice for the next five years, which will be led by the IDC in coordination with the conference program chair and program committee. An ongoing IDC session will be helpful to facilitate more systematic coverage of inclusion and diversity topics, as it will allow the IDC to thoughtfully plan and schedule topics and ensure inclusion of a variety of topics relevant to a wide range of underrepresented and marginalized groups. We hope this opportunity helps the IDC continue to build a stronger partnership with NCFR's sections and focus groups.

This series of special sessions is for all of us—the NCFR's members—to reflect on who we are, what we do, and how we can support all families and communities as family scholars, educators, and practitioners. These sessions are designed for sharing ideas, concerns, and suggestions in an effort to become more inclusive family professionals and, ultimately, to support NCFR in building a more inclusive, diverse, and socially just environment for all members.

To better utilize this opportunity, the IDC is calling for NCFR members' input on the upcoming special sessions. If you have thoughts, suggestions, or insights for helping to move NCFR and ourselves as members forward in regard to inclusion, diversity, and social justice through these sessions, please share your ideas via the IDC contact webform (ncfr.org/idc-webform). We appreciate your suggestions and look forward to continuing our dialogue about future plans for these special sessions. We hope to see you in attendance at future special sessions at the NCFR conference.

*Additional IDC members are Ruben Viramontez Anguiano, Shann Hwa (Abraham) Hwang, Anthony James, Kate Kuvalanka, Vanja Lazarevic, and Jennifer Kerpelman (board liaison).

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