DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & INCLUSION
Hello everyone! My name is Alexia Sambrano and I will be serving as the 2021 Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
I am honored to serve as the first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, a position that was created exactly 100 years after the founding of our organization in 1921.
Historically, our organization has been intrinsically connected to USC’s history of white supremacy, racism, gentrification, and displacement of Indigenous and local Black and Brown communities. Unfortunately, this is a history that many folks with privileged backgrounds and identities have the luxury of ignoring. However, both ignoring this history and simply acknowledging it are not enough to ensure our membership and the greater USC community are actively engaging in conversations and actions that reflect our organization’s and the university’s commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for learning and living.
The Helenes seek to ensure that all aspects of our organization — including curriculum, recruitment, and support for our members — reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will be active participants in the process of learning and unlearning our own implicit and explicit biases.
I am first-generation, low-income, queer, gender fluid, and Latinx. I have personal experiences with feeling out of place in spaces that were not originally created to support me, and I am a firm believer in creating safe spaces for folks from marginalized communities to thrive and succeed.
Helenes should be a safe space for all members, and I am certain that the implementation of DEI initiatives will greatly benefit our organization, as well as provide the space for all to grow and learn about the cultural and historical production of systems of oppression, and of social movements created and led by marginalized communities.
We know that committing to anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-capitalist efforts are a life-long responsibility. We have set the following goals and promise to continue to set goals and implement initiatives to advance racial equity and inclusivity within our organization:
Create and support a sustainable structure to diversify Helenes membership, increase affordability and access to tools and opportunities.
Promote and educate Helenes membership on DEI issues relating to race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, etc., to ensure a safe and welcoming environment.
Develop and provide inclusive training and resources that support, inspire and engage Helenes membership.
Enhance and enforce sincere accountability and collaboration through the development of community values for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
While I recognize that Helenes has a lot of work to do moving forward, I am fully committed and hopeful that our initiatives will aid in making Helenes a safer space for Black, Indigenous, Students of Color, low-income students, queer and trans students, students with disabilities, and other students who have experienced marginalization and systemic discrimination.
Helenes love and all of mine,
Alexia Sambrano (they/she)
The Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has curated a Resource List for folks seeking more educational or identity-affirming resources. This document is accessible here.