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If they have questions or suggestions for topics, please submit to Tatyana Fertelmeyster

“NIEAPA members shall seek to develop an awareness of their own personal and cultural values and beliefs as one way of appreciating the importance of multicultural identities in our own lives and in the lives of those we serve. NIEAPA members shall have and continue to develop specialized knowledge and understanding about the values, traditions and systems of all employees at the workplaces they serve.


Please take a couple minutes to read this beautiful message written by Carole Hoffman and the Diversity Committee

July may be best known for Independence Day celebrated on the 4th. As you may remember, the colonies called for an inter-colonial congress expressly to discuss a unified response to the abuses the colonists experienced under British rule since the end of the French and Indian war in 1763. All the colonies except for Georgia met at the First Continental Congress in September 1774. They drafted a declaration claiming the colonists had the same civil rights as English citizens and would boycott all English goods.

Today, the notion of colonists and colonies arouses strong feelings in our time and our context as we acknowledge that colonists displaced indigenous peoples, visited all manner of illness upon them, and destroyed their way of life. Claims that all people have the same civil rights echo through the country today. While most people share this value, many cannot see or choose to remain oblivious that we have not achieved shared civil rights. People of color approach the world based on experiences large and small that remind them of an “otherness” that should not be.

When that approached failed, all 13 colonies met again in 1775 to address the political as well as practical concerns. There was fear among the upper-class colonists that the lower class was gaining too much power through revolution. Trade restrictions caused anxiety among the middle-class colonists that their businesses would continue to decline, and all the colonists resented that they were being denied their civil rights and representative government. Then as now, our efforts to achieve the stated goals have not been successful. It is not clear that all of us share the same goals. Some cling to a way of thinking that supposes that one group of people is better than or less than another. This is wrong now as it has always been. Our nation will soon be a minority-majority country. That is a simple fact. We live in a time when fear and rage have moved people to action.

The Declaration of Independence, adopted in 1776, voiced the philosophical and political ideas of the Enlightenment, expressing the fundamental values that humans, by nature, had the right to protection of life, health, liberty, and possessions.(https://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/declaration/summary/). Enlightenment continues to be the objective for most and that Enlightenment is neither straight nor smooth. Asking people to be satisfied with incremental progress is no longer acceptable.

Several July days are notable for recognizing certain groups reflective of the values many Americans believe are incorporated in the Declaration of Independence:

July 14: International Non-Binary People’s Day, aimed at raising awareness and organizing around the issues faced by non-binary people around the world while celebrating their contributions.

July 18: Nelson Mandela International Day, launched on July 18, 2009, in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday via unanimous decision of the U.N. General Assembly. It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices: “It is in your hands now.” It is more than a celebration of Mandela’s life and legacy; it is a global movement to honor his life’s work and to change the world for the better.

July 26: Disability Independence Day, celebrating the anniversary of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

July 30: International Day of Friendship, proclaimed in 2011 by the U.N. General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. https://www.diversitybestpractices.com/2021-diversity-holidays)

As a final thought, I am reminded of the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics, which includes standards regarding Cultural Competence in the performance of their work. I believe it is at the heart of all we do:

1.05 Cultural Competence

(a) Social workers should demonstrate understanding of culture and its function in human behavior and society, recognizing the strengths that exist in all cultures. (https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English)


Following is the beginning of a list of films, plays, books, TV shows, music - any artistic expression more or less that touches on issues of diversity. If you have suggestions, please email them to the Diversity Committee via Scott Janson


Get Out - Directed by Jordan Peele
A young African-American visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling pointClick here for discussion notes.


HIR - written by Taylor MacEm Grosland, Amy Morton, Ty Olwin and Francis GuinanPhoto Michael Brosilow
After a dishonorable discharge from the military for drug-related offenses, Isaac returns home from Afghanistan, expecting to confront his abusive father, protect his mother and sister, and relax into his old bedroom. His expectations are dashed, as he walks into a different kind of chaos. Click here for write up of performance provided by Scott Cullen-Benson.

(Photo Information: 
Em Grosland, Amy Morton, Ty Olwin and Francis Guinan/Photo: Michael Brosilow)

Northern Illinois Chapter Employee Assistance Professionals Association (NIEAPA)

Address: 400 E. Randolph #2305, Chicago. IL 60601
Phone: +1 (312) 756-7756
Email: nieapa@corpevent.com

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