Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging – Pasadena Village's JourneyBy Bridget Brewster
Pasadena Village was invited to offer a presentation focused on DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging)* for more than 400 attendees (12 Pasadena Villagers attended) at the recent 2023 National Virtual Village Gathering. The theme this year was Vibrant Villages Empowering Communities. The conference offered more than 20 presentations with lively discussions that reflected how our Villages can have a positive influence in our communities.
The presentation, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging – The Business Case and Journey was given by Katie Brandon, Bruce Christensen and Sandra Moffett. Katie offered a framework for the presentation by referencing one of the Governor’s Master Plan for Aging’s objectives: Promote and adapt the village model of volunteerism and services, building on the strengths of California’s diverse communities.
Bruce Christensen shared his perspective as a leader in our LGBTQ+ group, The Village People. Growing up as a gay man has taught him the need for family, he said, emphasizing that finding or creating a “logical family” or “family of choice” became crucial for him. “I found the Village very welcoming and the LGBT community can also offer many resources, leadership and enthusiasm for the Village,” Bruce said. He also believes finding community through the Village is one way we can address the epidemic of loneliness.
Sandra Moffett has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Pasadena Village. She credits Katie Brandon for her determined outreach into diverse communities and welcoming “seniors from all walks of life.” “When Katie asked me to attend the California Village Movement DEIB training on behalf of the Pasadena Village … it was informative and reinforced what was already apparent in our Village,” Sandra said. “Family is not always close by, and you need the camaraderie of other people” to give the support we need as we age, so the Village community becomes critical, she said.
Katie pointed to the various policies, programs and presentations that actively address the Pasadena Village commitment to ensuring a welcoming environment for all. Katie stated, “Since we were founded over a dozen years ago, Pasadena Village has been committed to being welcoming. Our spirit of inclusivity is a critical part of our values statements and our 2022–25 Strategic Plan.”
As we face the demographics of the California aging population, it is critical for our Village to reach out, to listen and to remove barriers whenever possible. Pasadena Village is in the forefront of addressing the needs of all who are part of the aging community.
*Diversity refers to all aspects of human difference, social identities, and social group differences; Equity refers to fair and just practices and policies that ensure all community members can thrive; Inclusion refers to a community where all members are and feel respected;
Belonging refers to a feeling of identifying with the group through common practices and beliefs.