Glossary of Belonging

Anti-ism is the work of actively opposing discrimination, predjudice, and harassment that harm individuals through "othering" and advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life that create communities of belonging. Anti-ism includes working to dismantle systems that block or deny inclusion of people and groups on the basis of their personal characteristics such as their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, citizenship status, different abilities, national origin, religion, culture and social class attributes such as income, wealth, and social status.
Anti-racism is work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. Anti-racism tends to be an approach set up in opposition to racist behaviors and impacts. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society.1
Culture encompasses all the things that people have, think, and do as members of society. It is beliefs, practices, and symbols that are learned and shared, binding people together and shaping their realities. For this work, it is important to acknowledge that we as individuals and organizations exist within a dominant culture (e.g. white supremacy), and we must, therefore, be vigilant in holding ourselves and our programs accountable to the work of identifying and countering white supremacy culture’s damaging characteristics.2
Diversity encompasses all the characteristics that make one individual or group different and recognizes the value of everyone and every group as part of an inclusive community of belonging. Differences can include race, ethnicity, gender identity/expression, age, national origin, religion, ability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, physical appearance, and more.3 We recognize that these differences can be visible or invisible.
Equity is the fair treatment, access, and opportunity for all people, and identification and elimination of barriers that prevent the full participation of all in a community of belonging. Equity requires understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities (history, politics, economics, etc.) to create just and fair institutions and systems.4 By contrast, equality does not take into account the possibility that some people start with more advantages than others or face more unjust barriers than others.
Inclusion occurs when traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups are welcomed into processes, activities, and decision making in a way that shares power.5 Sharing of power is an essential attribute of communities of belonging.
Intersectional thinking
Intersectional thinking helps us understand and dismantle systems of unjust hierarchy based on difference. Racism, sexism, heteronormativity, ageism, ableism, etc. overlap, interact, and often compound injury to members of marginalized groups. Communities of belonging commit to dismantling these systems.
Power, in the context of this work, means the ability to control or influence the access of another person to resources, opportunities, and other life outcomes. A key element of antiracist and anti-ism work is applying critical transparency to how power is manifested in the organizations and relationships we all inhabit. and a commitment to critically examine the uses of power through regular recognition, mitigation, and transformation of power relationships.

1Racial Equity Tools
2Characteristics and Antidotes of White Supremacy Culture
3Racial Equity Tools
4Independent Sector
5Racial Equity Tools