The HARC Lab aims to foster a safe and inclusive learning and research environment for all.
We are committed to promoting social justice.

Learn About our Values and Actions

DEIAA Statement

Statement of HARC Lab’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Anti-Racism

Our Values

Together, we are the Homelessness Advocacy, Research, and Collaboration (HARC) Lab at DePaul University. We address issues faced by people without access to stable housing. We acknowledge that racism, economic injustice, and oppression drive housing inequity. As university members, we recognize the need to create a learning space that is safe and accessible to all. Thus, the HARC Lab commits to demonstrating principles of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Anti-Racism (DEIAA). It is our mission to live out these values in meaningful ways. We aim to contribute to structural change within and outside of the university.

All members of our team had the chance to contribute to this statement and vote on its approval. We understand that our stated values are not an endpoint. Rather, they are our guiding framework. We know this work requires continuous, active engagement. It requires a willingness to critically self-reflect and enact meaningful change. In parallel, we consider this a living document that we will update and revise annually with all members of our team as we continue to grow.

How we define DEIAA:

Diversity

Diversity refers to individual differences based on lived experiences and social categories such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, etc., and their intersections. It encompasses the full range of social identities and their relations with systems of power and privilege.

Equity

The concept of equity acknowledges that historical injustices have given certain groups of people advantages at the expense of other groups. Therefore, equity means working towards justice and fairness by providing support proportional to need, so that all have equal outcomes.

Inclusion

Inclusion means actively creating safe space and opportunities for individuals who might otherwise be excluded.

Accessibility

Accessibility means creating an environment that accommodates individuals with varying aspects of ability.

Anti-Racism

Anti-racism is the active process of dismantling racism in all of its forms. Anti-racism is not simply a belief against white supremacy; it involves acting against racism.

Hover to see examples of how our values are realized through action.

To us, DEIAA requires the following:

Critical self-reflection

Incorporating DEIAA into our lab’s culture requires a paradigm shift from traditional practices. It requires sustained commitment. Every lab member must self-reflect on their beliefs, biases, and practices. We must grapple with difficult concepts such as matrices of power, privilege, and oppression. As scientists, we must question our research methods to avoid further oppression of those we seek to support.

Our Actions

We normalize respectful open communication and dialogue between all lab members.

We acknowledge that people may be at different stages of learning and development.

We hold open discussions rooted in respect (without tone policing).

We explicitly acknowledge power dynamics.

Power-sharing

We recognize inherent power dynamics within our lab and our work. Therefore, we must imagine and enact creative ways to share power. Those in positions of power should share power equitably with research assistants, interns, community partners, and study participants. In other words, everyone has a meaningful role in our work.

Our Actions

We create inclusive and equitable opportunities by encouraging research assistants to take on leadership positions. We foster research assistants’ confidence in sharing their perspectives because we value all voices.

All lab members share day-to-day logistical responsibilities.

We encourage all lab members to explore their interests and strengthen their critical thinking and research skills.

We provide tailored mentorship and guidance to research assistants and interns in support of their training and career goals.

Accountability

Our commitment to DEIAA requires accountability for actions and intentions from all lab members. This means that each person is open to hearing feedback and is willing to learn. If someone makes a comment that is unintentionally insensitive, they will show intent to change.

Our Actions

We openly condemn white supremacy, racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, colonialism, and all other forms of oppression against historically marginalized identities.

We have a structure to enable lab members’ engagement in anti-racist actions.

All lab members contractually adhere to the terms of our DEIAA statement.

Valuing diversity

Diversity among our lab members is beneficial to our work. It brings valued wisdom from lived experiences. It helps to reveal our systematic biases in working toward our DEIAA values. To truly value diversity, our lab must be accessible to individuals with diverse backgrounds and abilities.

Our Actions

We consider issues of DEIAA when considering who is invited to be a member of the lab.

We view each lab member and individual within our partnering communities through a strengths-based lens, and as a whole person with multiple intersecting identities and a wealth of lived experience.

Continuing education

Our goal is to foster learning and development. We seek to address tensions in DEIAA among our team through ongoing education. We will identify the gaps in our knowledge which we are responsible to fill. Doing so will ensure our work is grounded in DEIAA.

Our Actions

We educate on DEIAA issues through presentations, reading and discussing articles, and individual learning.

Our Shared Responsibility

DEIAA is a shared societal responsibility. It is up to each of us to come together, listen to one another, and collectively figure out the best ways to ensure that all persons have equal access to the opportunities and resources needed to achieve their goals and dreams. Here in the HARC Lab, DEIAA informs how we approach issues related to homelessness and homeless service systems. We invite you to engage in this necessary work with us because we believe that ensuring the fundamental right of housing for all is rooted in understanding and changing historic systems of injustice.

Resources

Diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and anti-racist work can take on many forms, and it is a brand-new concept to many. We encourage all individuals, no matter where they are in their journey, to continue to engage, learn, reflect, and approach these topics with compassionate curiosity. For individuals who may be at the beginning of their journey, here are links to some starting resources. They are not meant to be fully comprehensive; rather, they are a starting point.

Notes

DEIAA Statement current as of November 2020. ~ Header graphic created by Milena DeMario.  ~  Definitions were adapted from: Oxford Languages Dictionary, racialequitytools.org, and “On Intersectionality: Essential Writings” by Kimberlé Crenshaw.  ~  Download a copy of our DEIAA statement here.

Summary of HARC Lab’s Commitment to DEIAA

HARC lab is a research lab focused on housing issues. We know that homelessness is tied to a history of unfair and racist rules and laws. We also want to promote a community of care for DePaul University students and the communities with which we work. For these reasons, we commit to acting by values of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Anti-racism (DEIAA). This means that:

  • All of us self-reflect on how our identities (like race and gender) shape how we think, work together, and work with the community.
  • We make changes in our lab to make sure that power is shared so that everyone’s role is meaningful.
  • We are accountable to ourselves and each other. We accept feedback and admit and learn from mistakes.
  • We value diversity in our work, especially because this can help point out our biases.
  • We continue our education through reading, lab discussions, and presentations.

We view acting on DEIAA values as a shared duty. We work together to make sure everyone has access to what they need in order to reach their goals. Our values also inform how we do research. We believe that housing is a human right. In order to ensure this right, we have to change the unjust systems that are part of our history.

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