“Intersectionality” is a word used to describe the way in which overlapping social identities create a unique experience of the world. More often than not, much of the conversation around diversity and inclusion is dominated by addressing race or gender issues as separate entities. However, it is important to acknowledge intersectional identities and the compounded challenges some of us face as a result of belonging to multiple marginalized communities.

College campuses are working to be more inclusive of students who are learning from intersectional perspectives. In the past year, we have seen a number of universities and colleges commit to leading diversity and inclusion efforts to foster campus communities that are welcoming and affirming.

Intersectional inclusivity on campus

As the leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black LGBTQ and same-gender loving people, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) has accepted the mission to ensure that diversity and inclusion efforts account for the multi-dimensional ways that individuals experience the world and their campus communities. Specifically, NBJC helps to improve the capacity of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) through a unique cultural competency training that is centered around and inclusive of black students. We partner with leadership at HBCUs to review and implement policies and support faculty and students in endeavors to improve curriculum to address the aforementioned concerns. We endeavor to support diversity and inclusion efforts that are both meaningful and measurable.

Our overarching goal is to create and sustain inclusive communities that account for the diversity that is our reality in America. Without authentic and measurable engagement, diversity and inclusion efforts cannot be sustained. Ensuring inclusion requires much more than episodic collaboration. It demands improving cultural competency that strengthens existing relationships, builds new ones and removes barriers to success. Our efforts are guided by the wise words of Fannie Lou Hammer, who reminds us that "none of us are free until all of us are free.”