In recent years, many organizations, including Worksystems, have moved proactively to embrace the values of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI). The reason is straightforward – to reimagine behavior and power dynamics in the workplace in order to create a climate that is less discriminatory, more inclusive, and more open to equitable outcomes for everyone. 

Recently, however, workplace JEDI initiatives – or DEI programs, as they’re often known – have faced a backlash. This resistance – and the need to adapt to it – was the subject of a presentation at the recent Oregon Employment & Training Association (OETA) conference in Newport, Ore., delivered by Worksystems JEDI & Human Resources Manager Cynthia Chand-Hopkins. 

Doing justice-driven work within corporate, capitalist structures is really difficult,” Chand-Hopkins said. “The system is not set up to easily allow for more equitable outcomes and there can be a lot of resistance and backlash to trying to reimagine how workplaces operate.”  

OETA is a network of workforce development, training, and educational professionals from around the state. Chand-Hopkins’ presentation, “Reclaiming & Reframing DEI,” addressed the fundamental importance of DEI to creating a more equitable society, identified the assumptions and motives behind the contemporary DEI backlash, and laid out a set of concepts and strategies to help organizations hold fast to and recenter their commitment to equity. 

I’m excited to share tools and models with the conference attendees to go back to their organizations and implement changes – small or large,” she said. “I hope that attendees walked away reinvigorated and feeling like they have a community of support cheering them on as we build a better future for work.” 

You can view Cynthia’s presentation here. To learn more about Worksystems’ JEDI initiatives, click here. 

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