Hosting events is often a core activity for education networks and their organizations. Convenings can foster a sense of belonging and forge new connections that help the network to become more impactful and inclusive. But events can also perpetuate inequitable power structures and harmful cultures. This worksheet is designed to support education networks in examining and planning their events from the lens of equity and inclusion.
- Access and Participation – How are event invitations shared? How are participants’ needs anticipated and met? In what ways does the event support equitable participation from marginalized communities?
- Space and Belonging – How does the culture of the event foster inclusion? How are marginalized communities represented? How are their voices and cultures affirmed and celebrated?
- Planning, Execution, and Leadership – To what extent are marginalized communities co-planning and co-leading events? In what ways is that leadership visible? How do events create brave spaces and invite reflection?
Any gathering of people—from a happy hour to a webinar—creates spaces for collaboration and building essential relationships. Too often people from marginalized communities experience these spaces in ways that are invalidating and isolating. Events that don’t center equity risk alienating or failing to include critical voices in the work to advance equity and excellence in education. Inclusive events strive to create “brave spaces” that bring people together in more equitable ways.
Some aspects of equity-focused event planning might feel familiar—providing food options for a range of dietary needs or avoiding “manels.” But other questions in this module are designed to help hosts dig deeper, especially to think critically about how people from marginalized communities can design, lead, and experience the event. Where will the event be located, and will it be safely and reliably accessible via public transportation? What strategies do you have in place to address statements in breakout discussions that convey racial bias? Who will attendees see as doing work behind the scenes vs. acting in the role of thought leader?
This approach to event-planning doesn’t just make for better events. It pushes organizers to put their values into action and to think more deeply about their network, programming, and leadership choices in service of equity.
On the worksheet in this module, you’ll find questions that ask networks to reflect on equity and inclusion in their events from—planning to execution to post-event follow up. You can also explore resources on how to make events more inclusive.