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How our history is felt in the workplace today

In advance of the Juneteenth holiday, the Office of Human Resources encourages community members to integrate diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging into daily practice
For Northwestern University staff members, there are several ways to make diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging a more deliberate part of their everyday lives and to think about further education and awareness, such as being intentional in hiring practices and taking advantage of learning and development resources, said Lorraine Goffe, vice president for human resources. Photo by Getty Images

Northwestern recognizes Juneteenth as an official holiday beginning this year, with the University closed Monday, June 20, in observance. It is an opportunity for members of the University community to reflect on the significance of June 19, 1865, when some of the last enslaved African Americans in Texas learned the Civil War had ended, putting into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued by President Abraham Lincoln more than two years earlier.

But what does Juneteenth mean today?

“It is more than a day of celebration,” said Lorraine Goffe, vice president for human resources and chief human resources officer. “Juneteenth is also a time to consider how our history is felt in the present and the ongoing work that needs to be done.”

To that end, the Office of Human Resources (OHR) has made it a strategic priority to focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB). For staff members, there are several ways to make DEIB a more deliberate part of their everyday lives and to think about further education and awareness, such as being intentional in hiring practices and taking advantage of learning and development resources, Goffe said.

Training workshops

  • The Unconscious Bias workshop is a foundational skills workshop designed to raise awareness about biases that exist in daily interactions.
  • The Active Inclusion workshop builds awareness and provides practical tools for participants to enact change toward fostering inclusive environments.

To continue the work, staff can access the DEIB playlist anytime, at no charge, via myHR Learn. The playlist complements Northwestern’s DEIB workshop offerings and provides additional resources for ongoing learning. It contains a curated list of online courses, videos, articles and books from renowned subject matter experts, including Northwestern faculty.

Talent acquisition

Northwestern’s Talent Acquisition team encourages schools, units and offices to proactively work with their talent acquisition partner in making sure their job postings reflect DEIB principles. In addition, the team will provide recommendations for outreach to specific DEIB job sites.

Schools and units also can contact Stefanie Hicks, associate human resources director for diversity, equity and inclusion, who can help operationalize the Diverse Candidate Slates policy, including facilitating live trainings.

Goffe encourages all members of the Northwestern community to use the upcoming holiday weekend to reflect on ways to contribute to DEIB efforts to make Northwestern’s campuses more diverse and welcoming.

“With our partners across campus, we will continue to make sure everyone feels that they belong, as this is truly a University-wide priority and will take all of us to meet this goal.”