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What's Your Pronoun - Strategies for Inclusion in the Workplace

As more employers invest in LGBTQ inclusion and gender-inclusive workplaces, pronouns have become a significant focal point. The following Out & Equal resource is focused on practical guidance on how to implement successful practices and norms around pronouns in the workplace.


Best Practices for Non-Binary Inclusion

This guide reviews basic concepts surrounding gender, gender neutral language, pronouns, facilities, and more. It is released with the aim of encouraging companies and employees to develop greater empathy and awareness of non-binary identities in order to create spaces of belonging.

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LGBTQ Terminology 

Knowing the right words and phrases to say is an important part of the work towards full LGBTQ equality. This glossary of terms is a great way to advance your LGBTQ competency.


Talking About Race

Talking about race, although hard, is necessary. The National Museum of African American History and Culture provide tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation.


What Can I Do?

People are asking what they can do to support the Black community. Below are some ideas and actions that will get you started.


Adapt Your D&I Efforts to the Reality of the Crisis

Many companies are putting their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on hold during the coronavirus crisis. This is a mistake. Instead of shuttering initiatives, leaders should be focused on creating a model that is adaptable, cost-efficient, and focused on solving the problems employees experience now.



Project Implicit: Harvard University's Implicit Bias Association Tests Test your implicit bias to reveal unconscious attitudes and beliefs about age, disability, gender, race, sexuality, and other characteristics.

Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter for Nonprofits This goes through not only the “how” of implementing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan, but also the “why” (whether your organization is a nonprofit or not). It provides several tools for embedding EDI into work at all levels of an organization.

Our Shared Language: A Social Justice Glossary Many organizations find that it’s helpful to begin with an exploration of terms and definitions. This can help spark deep conversations about how we individually interpret and experience discrimination of whatever nature. This Social Justice Glossary from the YWCA offers a common vocabulary for difficult conversations.

Resources for Active Anti-racism

As author Ibram X. Kendi writes in How to be an Antiracist: The opposite of racist isn’t “not racist.” It is “anti-racist.”:
"What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.'”

On this webpage, we provide you resources to help you take action to serve as an anti-racist.  We will continue to update this page as we collectively learn, evolve and work together to create positive change.


2021 Diversity Holiday Calendar

The world is rich with diversity, which is reflected in the observances celebrated by its various cultures and populations. Knowledge of the following diversity holidays and celebrations can enhance your workplace diversity and inclusion efforts.


Racial Equity Resource Guide

In talking about issues of race, a common vocabulary is essential to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Words often have different meanings to different people, based on their experiences. The purpose of this glossary, which is a work in progress, is to help avoid such misunderstandings.



The danger of a single story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
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We can’t breathe at work, either: John Henryism and the health impact of racism 

Like many black people, I have spent the past weeks reflecting on and continuing Martin Luther King Jr.’s beautiful struggle of working toward dismantling racism and antiblackness, spurred by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. During a march last week, a colleague talked about all the spaces they were a part of: community organizations, social justice collectives, professional obligations, and work. I looked around at my fellow black faculty and administrators and realized we were all doing the same high-impact, but also high-emotional-toll, types of activities. But at the same time, we were attempting to keep all the plates spinning in our chaotic professional lives in a manner that exceeded that of our nonblack peers.
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John Amaechi discusses white privileged on Bitesize- BBC

On August 7, 2020 John Amaechi tells us what white privilege means to him. You can find the real video and transcript on the BBC website.
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RI SHRM Diversity Conference -Milagros Phillips

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What is Code-Switching?

For black Americans, having the ability to code-switch could help you get that promotion, make your case to a judge, or leave a police encounter unscathed. But changing how you speak isn't always enough to get around racism. 
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3 cognitive biases perpetuating racism at work - and how to overcome them

  • In the wake of global protests against racial injustice, companies and individuals have been doing more to tackle racial inequality.
  • But positive change can only be achieved through a focus on changing systems not individuals, writes Adwoa Bagalini, the World Economic Forum’s Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion Lead.
  • These three unconscious biases could be perpetuating racism in the workplace.
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Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Definitions
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Sexual orientation is a term used to describe your pattern of emotional, romantic or sexual attraction.
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Etiquette: Interacting with People with Disabilities

This 3 minute and 40 second YouTube video from the D.C. Office of Disability Rights discusses general rules of etiquette for interacting with people with disabilities. We encourage you to watch this short disability sensitivity training video before working with someone with a disability. We promise you will enjoy this short video – be entertained while learning!
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What Mindfulness Does to Your Brain: The Science of Neuroplasticity
By Maggie Seaver 

Practicing mindfulness consistently can change the way you think, feel, and act—because it can literally change your brain. Here's the science to prove it.

Your brain is plastic (no, not like that). The mind’s many intricate networks of neural pathways are continually and automatically adjusting through a phenomenon called neuroplasticity (neuro-, meaning relating to nerves or the nervous system; and plastic, meaning easily shaped or molded). 
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Are you passionate about Diversity? If the answer is yes, then we need YOU!

RI SHRM has an upcoming open position, the Director of Diversity!

At RI SHRM, we recognize that our strength comes from the diversity of our members, our programs, and how we do our work collectively. RI SHRM is seeking a 2-year commitment to serve on the board of directors as the Director of Diversity. 

This role is responsible for overseeing a vibrant committee of passionate members of RI SHRM who are in diversity and HR roles. 

Through this role, you will have the opportunity to ensure that there is diversity, equity, and inclusion across our programs/offerings, within our outreach, and in our members. 

If you are passionate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, we invite you to reach out to ri.shrm.diversity@gmail.com to learn more!

This role comes with a wealth of benefits, such as access to learning and development, opportunities to travel to SHRM National conferences and programs, and to serve alongside an incredible group of individuals. 

RI SHRM stands with Black Lives 

To our Colleagues and Friends in the Human Resources Community:

Over the past several weeks, we have watched violence, acts of injustice, and rallies spread across our country, as we still struggle to respond to a global pandemic. It is a frightening and challenging time for our HR colleagues and their employees as we all try to find our way through this uncertain time in our country, our local communities, and our workplaces.

We recognize that many of our colleagues and members of our workforce are hurting and angry--struggling to find answers to the recent national incidents and the long history of systemic racism and injustice towards Black people and other minorities in our community. We also recognize that many employees are highly vulnerable now.  As Human Resources professionals, we are in a unique position to make change happen in our organizations and we have a responsibility to do the right thing.

Rhode Island SHRM has focused on driving diversity initiatives in Rhode Island. Rhode Island is one of the most diverse states in our nation and we are proud to have a rich multicultural heritage. We have long celebrated the fact that this has contributed to the strength and resiliency of our workplaces, particularly during these difficult times.

Rhode Island SHRM proudly stands for social justice and racial equality. We strive to build communities and workplaces that promote diversity and inclusion, encourage understanding, and take action to create a positive workplace culture.

What we stand for:

  • A strong belief that all people should be treated with dignity and respect
  • Social and economic justice for all
  • A safe workplace where diverse viewpoints are welcomed
  • Healthy employees—physically, socially, financially, and emotionally
  • Equity for all in regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, gender identity and expression, disability, and veteran's status

What we oppose:

  • Racism
  • Bigotry
  • Hate
  • Violence
  • Inequity
  • Injustice

Acting as a collective voice, the Rhode Island SHRM Board encourages our colleagues to:

  • Recognize that there is division and racism in our country towards Black people and other marginalized minority populations and a real need for social equity in our workplaces and our communities;
  • Recognize people who may be hurting, reach out to them, and find safe spaces that promote healing and provide support to ensure the social and emotional health and wellbeing of all employees;  
  • Bring voices together to have thoughtful conversations and discuss how employees are feeling, allow them to express themselves, and ensure you have the internal capability to facilitate difficult conversations;
  • Listen with empathy, seek to understand other view points;
  • Have an open mind, open heart and self-reflect, challenge your own biases, even when uncomfortable and commit to self-growth and learning; practice self-care;
  • Take action---Influence the leaders in your organization, to take action, challenge practices and underlying norms that allow-even passively, inequities and commit to make real changes to eliminate racism and create racial equity in our workplaces; and
  • Take action-influence legislators to do the right thing.

As Human Resources professionals, we need to be part of the solution to affect change. As a professional Human Resources organization, we stand ready to support you. We don’t have all the answers—we are all learning together. However, we are here to listen, connect you with others and support you. Our Diversity Committee will take the lead to provide you information and resources. Feel free to reach out to any of us and particularly our Diversity Director, Kevin Matta

SHRM also has valuable resources to support you: 

Employer’s Guide to Demonstrating Equity and Inclusion: Six Ways to Put Words into Action

Tips for Discussing Racial Injustice in the Workplace

We are passionate about affecting change—and we stand with you and all of those oppressed.

It’s time to do the right thing.

-The Board of Rhode Island SHRM

Cynthia J. Butler, SPHR, SHRM- SCP, State Chapter Director

Lynn Corwin, SHRM-CP PHR, State Operations Director

Patricia Lyons, JD, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Treasurer and State Chapter Director-Elect

Pam DeMelim, Secretary

Gary Convertino, Ed.D, PHR, SHRM-CP, CPC, Workforce Development Director

Christine Cunneen, Director Sponsorships/Non-dues Revenue

Ray Dutelle, SHRM-SCP, Director at-large

Amy GrengaPHR, SHRM-CP, Communications Director

Tina Handren, SHRM-SCP, Certification Director

Ken LeGendre, Membership Director

Kevin Matta, Diversity Director

Linda Olbrys, Student/College Relations and Emerging Leaders

Roxane Rusnak, SHRM-CP, Foundation Director

Scott Seaback, Programs/Professional Development Director

Gregory Tumolo, Esq., Legislative Affairs Director

RI Society for Human Resource Management
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