JEDI Frequently Asked Questions

What is Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI)?

The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio (DCNEO) supports schools, non-profit, and for-profit organizations throughout Ohio to create communities where people are connected, respected, and valued.

  • Justice refers to a goal or vision for social change and requires a strategy to redress histories of violence, inequality, trauma, and the unjust treatment of groups.
    • There are many different types of justice practices that offer different approaches to enacting social change (e.g., Restorative, Transformative, Reparative, etc.)
  • Equity refers to a practice where people receive conditions or resources that they need to participate in society.
    • A just society is when all people have access to fair treatment, basic rights, protections, security, opportunities, obligations, and social benefits.
  • Diversity is difference between people, things, and experiences.
    • Diversity can only occur in a group, where one thing, person, or experience, is different from another.
  • Inclusion is the practice of valuing the unique experiences and contributions people have to offer.
    • Inclusion recognizes that the most growth happens when these unique contributions are encouraged and supported.
    • Inclusion is an ongoing commitment and goal where organizations create the conditions for diversity to thrive in a way that connects, respects, and values all members of the community.
    • Inclusion rejects assimilation and suppression of differences.


School & Youth JEDI Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why JEDI vs. Just DEI or DEIJ?
    • We believe that centering justice in our work is vital to healing historical trauma incurred by different peoples throughout our nation’s history. Justice can encompass many practices to invite open and courageous conversations about how we can improve our communities together, ensuring all people have access to human rights, protections, security, opportunities, and fair treatment. To reach equity, justice is necessary.
  • Who does justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) involve?
    • JEDI involves everyone! It’s not just for one group or certain groups of people. In order to celebrate the differences that everyone brings into our school community, we have to learn more about one another and also about other groups who may have little (or no) representation in the district.
  • What is the purpose of this programming?
    • To empower students to feel confident in who they are and have the skills to recognize and intervene when others aren’t being included. To enable educators and administrators to engage in conversations about issues that are affecting their students and families. To engage families and caretakers in gaining the skills to offer solutions to make their school feel more inclusive to all students.
    • DCNEO focuses on shifting behaviors and not beliefs for cultivating inclusive and equitable environments that celebrate differences in the school community.
    • DCNEO programs do not:
      • Tell everyone that they are racist
      • Indoctrinate people into one way of thinking
  • What types of programs or topics will this initiative involve?
    • Programs could include reading stories featuring diverse characters, arts and activity-based programs, classroom dialogues, and YouLEAD programming that focuses on a number of topics ranging from identity groups to conflict resolution and anti-bullying.
    • All of our YouLEAD Jr. (K-5) and YouLEAD (6-12) programs are grounded in the Ohio State Standards and Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • How can students, families, educators, and community members be involved?
    • DCNEO provides a highly customized approach to each district based upon what programming and supports they have requested. Students participating in YouLEAD Jr. and YouLEAD programming will participate in workshops facilitated by DCNEO. These programs also come with educator resources for them to continue learning and growing on a variety of topics. DCNEO will be launching preview videos for Fall 2021 for each of our YouLEAD Jr. and YouLEAD programs that families can view in advance of programming if they would like to know more.
    • Educator programming is often provided to all staff within a district and includes informational and skill building strategies for the classroom.
    • Some districts participate in school task force initiatives which provide an avenue for engagement of students, staff, families, and communities members. Families and community members are strongly encouraged to participate in these initiatives. The Director of JEDI Programs, School and Youth and Chief Program Officer are always open to addressing questions related to program specifics.
  • What types of programs or topics will this initiative involve?
    • Programs could include reading stories featuring diverse characters, arts and activity-based programs, classroom dialogues, and YouLEAD programming that focuses on a number of topics ranging from identity groups to conflict resolution and anti-bullying.
  • If we aren’t a very racially diverse community, why does inclusion, equity, and justice matter?
    • Diversity isn’t just about race, it’s about all the beautiful ways that humans differ from one another. Race is one way, but there are others such as religion, ability, and so on. One goal of education is to prepare students to be globally competitive and engaged citizens. Practices for inclusion and equity are important to learn at all ages from preschool and beyond. People have a variety of experiences and it’s important to be aware of those experiences.  
  • Does DCNEO youth programming promote or teach Critical Race Theory?
    • DCNEO youth programming focuses on building awareness, understanding, and skills for cultivating a sense of belonging in schools and youth-serving organizations. Social identities, culture, experience, and history impact how individuals navigate the world, including the education system. We provide education on specific social identity groups and how a history of bias and discrimination has impacted (and in some cases still impacts) the way students experience education at-large. However, our youth programming does not include Critical Race Theory as a component.
  • Will the Diversity Center’s programming cover sexuality or gender identity?
    • The Diversity Center’s programs are age-appropriate and cover a number of topics, including sexuality and gender identity when needed, requested, appropriate, and as part of contracted work However, not all topics listed on their website are ones that your district will cover or use. Programs are determined by the district based upon student needs. Students in the classrooms may bring up or ask questions about sexuality or gender identity as it relates to their experiences as a part of other programs or discussions. We will answer questions and support individual student responses when they share their experiences related to these topics. The Diversity Center can also support educators in how to be inclusive when these topics come up in their classrooms.
    • LGBTQIA+ Specifics: Knowing and learning about LGBTQIA+ topics will help your child be respectful to people who are different from them and create a school community where all are welcome, free from bullying or harassment about their identities or their family structure. Providing information or reading stories about LGBTQIA+ people or families does not mean that DCNEO or your district actively encourages your child(ren) to identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Instead, it will encourage them not to bully, harass, or judge others for loving or identifying differently than they do.
  • Will my child be exposed to conversations or books about the Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives Matter, or other conversations of social unrest?
    • We encourage educators to supplement their curriculum with primary and secondary sources. It’s important to teach students about varying perspectives and cultures. This educates the students on historical events and how people live and move through our world. While these are not a direct part of the workshops, student participants may refer to them and bring them up in their discussions. For example, following the murder of George Floyd, students brought up their thoughts and feelings in relation to that during workshops. Our programming centers on students sharing their own experiences, thoughts, and feelings in relation to these topics.
  • I do not want my child to participate in any diversity programming.
    • Diversity and inclusion programming and lesson design helps our learners understand themselves and others. All learners are encouraged to grow and explore through a variety of activities that are part of the curriculum and help make schools an inclusive environment. There are individual benefits to your child’s participation as well. Being around more socially diverse groups increases our creativity, our ability to be hard working, and also more readily able to develop critical thinking skills about different subject matter.
  • What are you doing in your classroom/school(s) to raise awareness about neurodiversity or mental/learning disabilities?  
    • Neurodiversity and ability are part of our core, standard definition of diversity. Students have opportunities to select and share about this important dimension of diversity during their activities in our foundational workshops.
    • Our climate surveys include the disaggregation of data by different demographic categories (I.e., disability, race, gender). This allows for us to examine the responses of specific groups of students, thus contributing to our ability to understand the needs and experiences of those students.
    • We recommend that educators model their own thinking as they work through problems and lessons. The Diversity Center can help teachers in guiding their students in reflecting on and articulating what classroom environments are supportive of their learning and what environments make learning a challenge for them. As students reach a certain level of maturity, they can participate in self-evaluation surveys that help them self-identify what type of learners they are. Allowing for flexibility and choices in seating as well as for how students can show what they know are a couple of examples of how we raise awareness around neurodiversity. Building and nurturing a classroom community that is less competitive and more collaborative can also support empathetic awareness of mental and learning disabilities.
  • How much time spent on JEDI topics will be taken away from subjects like reading and math?
    • Employing culturally responsive teaching is a recognized best practice in all subject areas. Making content areas accessible and inclusive to all learners is a focus of JEDI work.


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