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Hey everyone! My name is Celine Vazquez and I am incredibly honored to be serving as the 2023 Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Our organization is connected to USC’s history of white supremacy, gentrification, and bias. This history has gone a long time without being acknowledged. Given the large presence Helenes has on campus, it is critical for members of the organization to not only recognize, but reflect, learn, and engage in conversations surrounding this history and how we can better foster a diverse and inclusive environment for the Helenes and USC students.

As hosts of the university, we seek to nurture a safe space on campus to grow and expand DEI initiatives. Being intentional about how we as individuals can actively combat racism, sexism, ageism, etc. is essential in making ourselves better equipped to show up for our school and the South Los Angeles community we occupy.

Being a Mexican-American woman studying at a predominately white institution, I have personal experience with feeling out of place in an institution, or space, not suited to support me. I am a firm believer that making environments supportive, inclusive, and welcoming for marginalized communities is essential in allowing them to succeed and thrive.

We acknowledge that being committed to anti-racist and anti-sexist efforts is not something that can be learned within 4 years at USC - rather, it is a life-long responsibility. We set the following goals and intentions to implement DEI initiatives to advance 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 there is a lot of work to be done - more than can be completed in my one year term - I am excited to advance initiatives that will hopefully make Helenes a safer space for students who have experienced marginalization, discrimination, and feelings of otherness during their time at USC.

Helenes love and all of mine,
Celine Vazquez (she/her)

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.

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