Empathy, Equity, Diversity's Centre for Excellence: Introduction
By Mohamed Taher
The Centre for Excellence in Empathy, Equity and Diversity (CEEED was established after the 5th January, 2022 Webinar, as a result of shared need for ideas to continue a conversation on digital inequalities by Libraries, Archives, Museums (LAM). Empathy is to understand and also feel the experiences of others. In this turbulence-like situation, emotional distress awareness is needed to build a more empathetic and equitable workplace for everyone in LAM. This is very well discussed by Katie Scherrer: Setting the Tone from the Top, Consider the Community, Consider Staff, Consider Administration and Leadership, Consider Yourself (Scherrer, 2020).. Here it must be clarified: empathy is not equity; rather empathy is a path to equity.
CEEED's Vision: Achieve an empathetic, equitable and diverse society where everyone has equal and equitable opportunities.
CEEED's Mission: Encourage and support organizational transformation with a focus to achieve an empathetic and equitable workplace.
Here is a new way to look at equity, based on empathy and sensitivity, both towards the self and others in our work and in community. As part of human reactions to equity/inequity one may have individual preferences for different scenarios. Equity enforces, in such individuals an idea of dealing with fairness and openness. It will definitely improve the work culture. This empathy led equity opens a new way of looking at the accountability. "Both ‘voices’ are part of professional practice, but the new accountability stresses the former at the expense of the latter. For social work to play the critical role identified by Walter Lorenz, maintaining a creative balance between equity and empathy will be important." (Banks, 2007).
- Dr. Abdulhamid Hathiyani, Global Consultant on Community and Workforce Development., Toronto;
- Dr. Mohamed Taher, Librarian/CIO, Canadian Multifaith Federation, Toronto;
- Dr. Anita Coleman, Consultant, Powering Social Equity, Irvine, California; Adjunct Faculty, School of Information Sciences, UIUC, IL
- Sarala Uttangi, Director, Community Engagement & Partnerships, Brampton Library, Ontario;
- Sheliza Jamal, Executive Director, Curated Leadership Inc., Toronto;
- Dr. Kishor Chandra Satpathy, Chief Librarian, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata;
- Olesia Sloboda, MLIS., Curator of Collections, Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Education, Winnipeg, Manitoba;
- Dr. Laura-Edythe Coleman, Professor and Director of the graduate program in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.
- “Social Justice is following the golden rule of reciprocity.” Taher, M. (Ed.). (2022). Handbook of Research on the Role of Libraries, Archives, and Museums in Achieving Civic Engagement and Social Justice in Smart Cities. IGI Global
- "If we want to build an inclusive workplace where all employees thrive, we must begin with understanding the challenges we need to overcome to get there." in Leaning into empathy to help us redefine equity, Leanne Caret.
- “Ranganathan, a mathematician and librarian, created these laws in the 1930s: First, books are for use. Second, every reader has his/her book. Third, every book its reader. Fourth, save the time of the reader. Fifth, the library is a growing organism. Empathy is a part of each of these laws, reflecting a deep understanding of library patrons. Through these laws, Ranganathan steps beyond the library as an unchanging institution devoid of emotions. Instead, libraries are ever changing and possess a desire to relate to and reflect its users.” (Phillips and Coleman, 2016).
- Empathy Leads to Equity -- Empathy + Equity → Justice (cited / Charter for Compassion)
- “Civic Engagement is involving everyone with openness & fairness” (Anon.)
- “Equity is knowing that certain members of your staff come to work each day with different requirements that need to be accommodated before they can receive equal treatment.” (womeninleadership.ca)
- “Empathy can be considered the emotional corollary to the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have done unto you.” ala.org
- "Exercises in Empathy: Browsing a Mile in Your Patron’s Shoes" (Greenwalt, 2015).
For LAM's both in-reach and out-reach, a clear understanding as well embracing Multicultural Multifaith, Multi-racial terminology for empathy & equity is very much essential. Such an acquaintence makes us (i.e., the colleagues in any of the LAM sectors), socio-culturally fluent and future proof even for out-reach.
Empathy & equity literature and its scope: Such socio-cultural diversity literature appears under themes, such as, nonviolence, peace, harmony, tolerance, sympathy, empathy, compassion, equity, fairness, intercultural/interfaith dialogue, racism (injustice, violence, inequality), Ideology (e.g., beliefs, ideas), etc.
>>>>> 𝐋𝐀𝐌 = 𝐋𝐢𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬, 𝐀𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐬, 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐮𝐦𝐬, respectively includes, infrastructure (i.e., physical and technological) infostructure (i.e., human and social capital, physical space and place, collections, services, programs, products, etc.,)
>>>>> 𝐂𝐁𝐎 = 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲-𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐎𝐫𝐠𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐳𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬
>>>>> 𝐒𝐉 = 𝐒𝐨𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞,
>>>>> 𝐂𝐉 = 𝐂𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐜 𝐄𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭,
Empathy = "Browsing a Mile in Your Patron’s Shoes" (Greenwalt, 2015).
Equity = “Equity is knowing that certain members of your staff come to work each day with different requirements that need to be accommodated before they can receive equal treatment.” (womeninleadership.ca)
Empathy & Equity = Here is a new way to look at equity, based on empathy and sensitivity, both towards the self and others in our work and the community. This empathy led equity opens a new way of looking at the accountability. "Both ‘voices’ are part of professional practice, but the new accountability stresses the former at the expense of the latter. For social work to play the critical role identified by Walter Lorenz, maintaining a creative balance between equity and empathy will be important." (Banks, 2007).
- Conversations on Breaking Digital Barriers by Unboxing Empathy and Equity. Webinar Jan 5, 2022, (11:30 AM., EST) [View @ YouTube]
- Continuing the Conversations on Breaking Digital Barriers by Unboxing Empathy and Equity. Webinar Jan 27, 2022, (1 PM., NZT) [View @ YouTube]
- CEEED Newsletter
- Volume 1, Issue I, Spring 2022 ... Click here
Bridging the digital divide: Equitable and Empathetic Libraries, Archives and Museums - Webliography