In the stressful times we all find ourselves in, many organizations are looking internally to see how they can improve diversity and become more inclusive. We are no different and are doing the same internal review. As history has shown us, it can take generations for the culture of an organization to evolve.
We, in EGA, believe diversity refers to the traits and characteristics that make people unique while inclusion refers to the behaviors and social norms that ensure people feel welcome. It is the job of all of us in EGA to make sure everyone – all stitching levels, all economic levels, all ages, and all social and racial demographics – feel welcome and included.
We constantly try to attract new members of diverse backgrounds and experiences into EGA through holding stitch-in-public demonstrations in public libraries, shops, cafes, county and state fairs, etc. We are also developing ideas for holding similar demonstrations and classes in colleges, universities, and technical schools. At the national level, we can use our social and published media to create and expand awareness of designers, teachers, bloggers, and potential influencers who haven’t been well represented in EGA in hope that their designs and classes will appeal to a wider demographic. The officers of EGA seek your input on how to make our organization more inclusive. All of this will take time, but EGA will be a stronger, better organization. EGA is made up of volunteers; each of us individually can work to bring new, diverse members and mentors into our circle.
The pandemic has this silver lining: It is driving EGA to become much more knowledgeable and pro-active with electronic methods to meet and to take classes – we can bring a teacher who lives on the other side of the world into our own homes. The current racial tension also has a silver lining: It has expanded the level of awareness within EGA of the need to actively reach out and include all races and backgrounds. Let’s not waste either opportunity.
Embroiderers’ Guild of America