Member Diversity Positionality Statements
Orit Shechtman Positionality Statement
A statement on my personal position on and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion:
As a gender-bending, Jewish Lesbian immigrant from Israel, I have personally experienced prejudice, micro-aggressions, discrimination, and oppression. However, I recognize that the color of my skin gives me white-privilege, an unfair advantage that is unavailable to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). In my daily life, I do not experience the impacts of systemic racism. Moreover, if I wish to, I can hide my marginalized-group identities.
My values have been shaped by my upbringing and by my multiple marginalized identities. I strongly support social justice and have a long history of fighting for my own civil rights, including protesting and marching for women’s rights, gay rights, and immigrant rights. Currently, I am focused on racial justice and abolishing white supremacy through recognizing my own explicit and implicit biases and learning how to become an ally to BIPOC. In this process, I continue to educate myself about racism and am actively doing antiracism work (both individually and in a group setting). I am learning to identify racism as it is happening and to speak out against it (both privately and publically). I am committed to breaking my white-silence, to having conversations about race even when uncomfortable, and to listening carefully and being emotionally present when BIPOC express their feelings about racism.
In the classroom, I strive to create a safe space for all students, to encourage and appreciate student feedback, and to have open conversations on social justice. Personally, I intend to continue this life-long journey of understanding the impacts of social injustices and helping create a world in which there is justice for all.
Michael Moorhouse Positionality Statement
As a white, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied male, I recognize that my privilege insulates me from experiencing social and systemic discrimination, racism, oppression, rejection, or micro aggressions that many people have and continue to experience in their daily lives. This privilege is an inescapable part of my “identity” – something that has allowed me to never have to prove myself because of my sex, or be uneasy walking into a room where no one looks like me, or deny my authentic self for fear that family and friends will reject me. Moreover, my privilege has allowed me to navigate life largely unaffected by discriminatory practices, prejudicial policies, and implicit/explicit bias.
My lens, my values, my motivations have all been heavily influenced by my upbringing and my own lived experiences related to self-worth and inferiority. It is these experiences that drive me to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion inside and outside the classroom. I believe that we are all an intersection of vertical and horizontal identities that should be celebrated and affirmed, rather than hidden or oppressed. To that end, I strive to make safe and affirming spaces for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status; and hope to grow by becoming more educated and better understanding of the impact of social injustices.