Statement of Belonging
We are all in the process of learning. This statement reflects us currently and will change and improve as we learn and grow.
In the DePTh lab, we acknowledge that:
- Oppressive systems create and maintain inequality and marginalization. Our words and actions can support those systems or dismantle them.
- It is unfair to expect the targets of prejudice and discrimination to bear sole responsibility for beginning and continuing dialogue about oppressive systems or to carry the emotional labor of oppressors’ shame or guilt.
- Everyone deserves a space to be brave and vulnerable.
- Without trust, it is harder to engage, be vulnerable, and hold one another accountable.
- Shame is a tool of oppression that perpetuates inequalities and a non-inclusive environment.
Our beliefs only have value if they are reflected in our actions, and we are committed to practicing these beliefs at every level – starting with personal commitments to educate ourselves proactively so we do not perpetuate inequitable environments or oppressive systems.
Therefore, as a group and as individuals, we:
- Tackle issues of privilege and systemic bias by naming them, talking about them, and taking personal and collective responsibility to change them.
- Acknowledge where we have lived experience and privilege, where we don’t, and whose voices are not present.
- Speak up and hold one another accountable. When called out, we take a moment to self-reflect, acknowledge any unpleasant feelings, and prioritize learning over defensiveness.
- Acknowledge that authentic communication involves both listening and sharing. Sharing is always up to you, but listening openly and non-judgmentally is non-negotiable.
- Explore the ways that traditional definitions of professionalism can be exclusionary and work to create a more inclusive professional space.
- Encourage all to bring the entirety of their experience to this space. We are all learners in some way, none of us knows everything nor is perfect, and every person has unique expertise to share.
- Engage in relationships as people first, across hierarchical differences, while also acknowledging power dynamics.
- Actively work to prevent shame, including feelings of inadequacy related to academics (e.g., statistics, theories, academic culture), by engaging in mutual vulnerability, voicing when we feel shame or do not understand something, and providing scaffolding to one another rather than assuming previous knowledge.
- Prioritize growth, effort, and creativity over achievement alone.
- Establish mutual consent through this document which we hold each other and ourselves accountable to.
Adapted by the DePTh Lab from Brené Brown’s Education and Research Group Belonging Statement