Educational justice is a dynamic set of processes that are focused on community-determined aims and ends that go beyond the level of the individual and legally defined remedies, such as Brown vs. Board of Education.
Solidarity is the process of human relations that are centered on the relationship between difference and interdependency, as opposed to what we have in common and the rational need to serve our own self-interests.
Accessibility means that people are not excluded from using something on the basis of experiencing a disability. Accessibility means that people can do what they need to do in a similar amount of time and effort as someone that does not have a disability. It means that people are empowered, can be independent, and will not be frustrated by something that is poorly designed or implemented. Accessibility is not something that is either true or false. It can only be measured in relation to a specific ability or scenario. Something can be accessible to some people while being inaccessible to others.
Diversity is a relational concept. It shows up in the composition of teams and organizations, and it is measured based on a collective whole. In this way, diversity refers to “difference” within a given setting. So, while a person is not “diverse,” they may bring a diverse range of experiences. From appearance to thought, likes or dislikes, and identity. Diversity of identity may relate to socialized and visible race, gender identity, religion, nationality, body shape or size, age, or sexual orientation, to name a few.
People aren’t “diverse”; we’re individuals. Referring to people as “diverse” marginalizes those in non-dominant or historically less privileged groups. Instead, diversity is relational. It’s about the differences between people within your teams, company, and ecosystem.
Equality and Equity
Equality and Equity mean different things and lead to different results. When we treat everyone equally, we treat everyone the same, but when we treat everyone equitably, we focus on individualistic needs. In a diverse workplace, differences exist, and people require support in different ways. Equity asks us to acknowledge that everyone has different needs, experiences, and opportunities.
People from marginalized groups often have more barriers to overcome when accessing resources and opportunities than those from dominant or more privileged groups. In a diverse organization, equity-inspired design identifies barriers and inequities and helps to elevate the people on the margins to an equal playing field.
Inclusion is about value. An organization can be diverse without being inclusive because inclusion is not a natural consequence of a diverse team or organization — we need to design for it. Having a diverse workplace means differences exist, and inclusion takes it forward to ask how everyone, from team members to end-users, can feel valued. A diverse workplace acknowledges there may be people who practice their religion or spirituality during the day. Inclusion means creating a space for people to pray, meditate, or observe. By designing this space, we show people they are valued and encourage them to bring more of themselves to the workplace.
Social Justice is the collective responsibility of a free and just society, to ensure that civil and human rights are preserved and protected for each individual regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, nation of origin, sexual orientation, class, physical or mental ability, and age. Social justice means that everyone’s human rights are respected and protected. Everyone has equal opportunities. This doesn’t guarantee that society will be perfect, and everyone will always be happy. However, everyone will have a fighting chance at the life they want. They aren’t held back by things out of their control like systemic obstacles or discrimination. There isn’t one clear framework for what successful social justice looks like in practice, but that’s why principles like participation, access and equity are so important.