Equity and Social Justice Quarterly Update No. 3

Friday August 11, 2023

In our organizational bylaws 2.3 and 3.1, the RPCV Alliance for Ukraine commits to equity and social justice. While the war in Ukraine continued throughout the second quarter of 2023, the organization worked towards equity and social justice by connecting to members through a survey, establishing the mission and vision for the Equity and Social Justice Committee, and assessed progress towards 2021-2022 equity and social justice goals.

 

Equity and Social Justice Membership Survey 

From June 5 through July 30, 2023, the Alliance surveyed members to meet the following objectives:

  • Understand the demographic data of the Alliance’s membership.
  • Determine how members engaged in DEI/social justice projects as PCVs in UA.
  • Identify how members engage in DEI in their current work.
  • Gauge interest of  potential DEI-related engagement programming and activity

 

From the survey, we gathered insights from 25 respondents within the RPCV Ukraine community expressing interest in DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) and social justice matters, both in Ukraine and within the community itself. Almost all participants showed a desire to contribute to equity and social justice efforts sponsored by RPCV AUA. This involvement ranged from contributing to an Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) fund through donations to actively participating in ESJ committees and staying updated on ESJ initiatives through the quarterly newsletter. The data underscores the enthusiasm of our members for such engagement, and it motivates us to continue advancing our existing initiatives while also exploring new ones in line with the suggestions provided by our membership.

 

Demographic info is limited. However, we received the following information.

  • Many RPCVs ran DEI projects in Ukraine.
  • There is a strong interest in attending a panel sharing DEI/social justice projects; panel addressing marginalized populations in UA during the war and attending a virtual coffee meeting for RPCVs with an interest in DEI and social justice issues.
  • Respondents show interest in reading about equity and social justice issues in the RPCV AUA quarterly update.

 

Establishing an Equity and Social Justice Committee

Under the leadership of the Equity and Social Justice Officer, we made a call out to Alliance members to create a committee to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging work for the Alliance. In May 2023, we had our first committee meeting. And in July 2023, we defined the mission and vision for the committee.

 

Equity and Social Justice Committee Mission 

The Equity and Social Justice Committee supports the RPCV Alliance for Ukraine’s mission by creating and implementing a diversity action plan with goals for internal and external stakeholders, along with metrics to track progress and ensure accountability to the AUA’s commitment to equity and social justice.

 

Equity and Social Justice Committee Vision

The Equity and Social Justice Committee will support the RPCV Alliance for Ukraine in fostering a diverse membership and ensuring a sense of belonging by being inclusive of various races, ethnicities, genders, nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations. This committee will also support diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives for RPCVs and PCVs who have served or are currently serving in Ukraine.

 

Progress Towards Published Goals 

The Committee reviewed published goals related to Equity and Social Justice to determine progress towards current goals.

In the 2020-21 Equity and Social Justice Plan under Prioritize Advocacy, the Alliance planned the following:

 

  • At least one Board member will attend all public forums hosted by
    the Peace Corps Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion ([email protected]) and take notes to share with the Alliance.

    • Status of Goal: The ESJ Committee learned that there may have been changes to the Peace Corps Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion since the goal was created. The goal will be adjusted to identify ways to support Peace Corps diversity and inclusion initiatives moving forward.
  • Seek and share updates regarding the list of Changes Necessary for the Safety of Black and POC PCVs in Ukraine created by PCVs prior to the 2020 evacuation.
    • Status of Goal: Since the COVID-19 evacuation in 2020 and the full-scale invasion of Ukraine that began in February 2022, PCVs have not been serving in Ukraine. As of July 2023, the Alliance has not shared updates regarding the list of Changes Necessary for the Safety of Black and POC PCVs in Ukraine, but the ESJ Committee plans to adjust the goal to plan forward for the return of PCVs in Ukraine and/or the experience of virtual service participants.
  •  Galvanize resources to support volunteer-led efforts to meet needs of Black, POC, and other marginalized volunteer groups in-country and following service
    • Raise $1,000 in funds to sponsor two Black PCV retreats; continue in future years as needed.
    • Continue to collaborate with members to identify and meet future fundraising needs.
    • Status of Goal: As stated in the first quarterly update for 2023, the funds gathered for the Black PCV retreats were dispersed to the Global Black Coalition (GBC) for Ukraine in 2022 as we do not know when volunteers will be allowed to return to Ukraine. Information about the process and a report about how GBC has used the money is available on our website.
  •  With approval from Peace Corps Ukraine, maintain an ongoing relationship with PC Diversity and Inclusion Officer, ICDEI Working Group, and other relevant PC leadership and staff, when Peace Corps volunteers are in-country.
    • Status of Goal: As there are no Peace Corps volunteers in-country at this time, we are not working on this goal. However, the ESJ Committee plans to consider how to support the Virtual Service Pilot Program in Ukraine at this time.
  •  Actively participate in National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) events and discussions devoted to racial equity and social justice.
    • Status of Goal: In July 2023, we voted in a new Board Member who will serve as the NPCA Liaison and is serving on the Equity and Social Justice Committee.

 

Under Incorporating Equity into Our Actions and Programming, we had the following goals. 

  • The Connections Program will partner returning volunteers with established RPCVs based on mentoring needs of the volunteer, taking into account the unique challenges faced by RCPVs of color, LGBTQIA+ Volunteers, and those belonging to religious minorities.
    • Status of Goal: The Connections Program has not been active in 2023 as there are no active or returning volunteers at this time.
  • By the end of 2021, establish a structure for incorporating Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion criteria into all our proposed programming by crafting a standard list of questions to consider.
    • Status of Goal: The DEI Checklist for Events was published in December 2021. We utilized the checklist at the Babusya’s Kitchen Outreach event in May 2023.
  • Beginning in 2021, updates on this plan and future equity and social justice action plans will be a standing agenda item at Board and Member meetings.
    • Status of Goal: Equity and Social Justice updates were part of meetings in May, June, July, and August of 2023.

 

Due to the various demands on the Alliance to support Ukraine during the war, the Equity and Social Justice Committee met to review and adapt the goals to more accurately reflect the current goals and how the ESJ Committee can support them. A draft of the updated goals were shared with the Board in August 2023 and will be finalized in September 2023.

Skip to content