At a recent event hosted by the AIR Equity Initiative, a panel of experts discussed different strategies for systematically and meaningfully engaging diverse voices and perspectives in research, technical assistance, and policy development and implementation to address long-standing social inequities. This included examining internal structures and practices, partnering with a variety of stakeholders, and reimagining grantmaking processes. Each panelist’s experiences offered important takeaways for individuals and organizations who want to help ensure that diverse perspectives are regularly sought and included.
Major recommendations include:
- Center the Voices of Constituents
- Listening Must Go Both Ways
- When Disproportionality Exists, Investigate Thoroughly
- Equity Processes Must be Systematic, Flexible, and Measurable
In sum, to routinely include diverse perspectives requires a recognition that research, policy, and technical assistance unfold within a broader context, and consideration of related efforts across an ecosystem may be reinforcing, perhaps even catalytic. Further, benefitting from diverse perspectives requires intention, care, and resources.