CCHE Statement of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility Intent:
Cook County Higher Education (CCHE) has prioritized the work necessary to create a learning environment where every student can succeed in learning and earning the education they desire. Our intention is to counteract discriminatory policies that prevent people from equally accessing the benefits of education.
Steps we have taken/are taking include:
- Self-examination of our own institution and culture to identify and remove policies and systems that create barriers.
- Promoting training for staff regarding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility.
- Adding an accessibility plugin to our website.
- Adding a language translation plugin to our website.
- Creating programming that is inclusive of the diversity in our community: American Indian History, political, and language classes.
- Creating programming that seeks to educate participants about issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility from both a historical and current perspective.
- Seeking grants and donations to provide scholarships for event attendees and local scholarships – distributing approximately $50,000 in tuition scholarships in the past year.
- Connecting with other non-profits in Cook County to form a coalition dedicated to equity work.
- Hiring a native speaker of Anishinaabemowin to create signs for our building, with the view of more fully representing the members of our community.
- Providing access to programming as a recording to allow for flexible remote learning.
- Distributing low-cost laptops – providing building, WIFI, and 24/7 computer access.
- Creating and using a Land Acknowledgement Statement.
- Creating an action-oriented Anti-Racism Committee that includes Staff and Board Members.
CCHE hopes to work with a consultant to fully develop a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility action plan. That plan will be concrete, strategic, and will hold our organization accountable to address discrimination in our education systems. We promise to be transparent with our process as we strive to be a community asset for this work. We welcome input.
Diversity includes characteristics of race, age, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, national origin, migratory status, disability/abilities, political affiliation, veteran status, and socioeconomic background. It also includes differences in backgrounds, ideas, thought, values and beliefs. Embracing differences make us a better community, organization, and individuals.
Equity requires providing justice, fairness, and access to opportunities and resources for all stakeholders.
To be an Inclusive organization is to respect everyone, value differences, acknowledge the impact of differences, and capitalize on those differences by drawing on the strengths that produce innovative solutions from the synergy of our stakeholders.