In 2020, the AZA Board of Directors adopted a fifth promise for AZA's Strategic Plan focused on Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion (DEAI):
“We will advance diversity, equity, access, and inclusion practices in the profession and integrate these as values into our organizational cultures.”
Adding this promise to the AZA Strategic Plan is another step in a journey for AZA and its members. This promise serves as a guiding principle for the AZA staff and the work of our Association. It's the beginning.
In 2020, the Accreditation Commission approved updates to an existing accreditation standard, strengthening our collective commitment to DEAI goals and initiatives. The AZA Board of Directors also adopted an updated position statement on DEAI. To support our members in their efforts to meet and exceed the strengthened standard, these Guidelines for Developing a Great DEAI Program were developed by the AZA Diversity Committee.
Working with an interdisciplinary staff team, AZA has developed a Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion Action Plan to guide the work of the Association in its own processes, programs, and member services. This Action Plan serves as a guiding document for the AZA's efforts to model a strong, integrated commitment to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion.
When it comes to DEAI, it is everyone’s responsibility to take action. The DEAI journey is complex and challenging. However, we must keep taking steps forward, creating space for the development of an inclusive and compassionate culture, for every team member and every visitor, at AZA, our accredited facilities, and throughout the community.
Each organization and individual can start by thinking about where they have influence and what steps they can take to move DEAI efforts forward. Together we can start conversations and support each other in taking action. To succeed we need to be brave, open, and authentic.
If you're not sure where to start or are looking for some tools to help you or your organization advance your DEAI efforts, we've created a more direct way to find some guidance. Join us on the AZA Network Diversity Community to find a reorganized library of resources categorized by your own starting point. No matter where each of us is in our DEAI journey, there's more we can do.