Microaggressions are every day, subtle, often unintentional interactions or behaviors that communicate bias toward historically marginalized groups and perpetuate that group’s oppression. Illustration: Security officers are called to campus events, libraries, or residences where black students are attending, because other students don’t believe they are students.
As part of a nationwide movement for more accountability and progress toward the goals of diversity, inclusion, and equity (DEI), the Department of Environmental and Global Health is taking a multi-tiered approach to its response. Using the socio-ecological framework, working groups have been established to identify appropriate departmental changes, actions, or reflections at the personal, interpersonal, institutional, community, and policy levels. Based on feedback from initial meetings of those groups, it was determined that individual-level understanding of the movement and intention of the DEI working groups was highly varied and that a shared understanding and engagement of basic concepts and tenets of the movement were needed. Specifically, a mechanism was sought that would 1) engage faculty with the core concepts of DEI, 2) require relatively little investment of time, and 3) illustrate personal and tangible ways that EGH and PHHP are complicit in the societal problems that DEI seeks to address.
What is the Word of the Month program?
In response, a 12-month Word of the Month program has been implemented whereby a key concept to the DEI movement is highlighted in emails and announcements by the department. The term will be defined, and a short blurb will be provided to demonstrate meaning. EGH faculty, staff, and students will then be given the opportunity to share their own story of how the concept has affected them while at UF.