At PTS, our work is guided by the concept of Equity. Throughout the world of social justice, however, equity takes on many meanings and forms, depending on the personal backgrounds and resources of those using the term. Coming from a background in sociological research, we decided to do a deep dive into the thoughts and theories on equity as conceptualized by the greats in our field. By doing so, we have created our own definition of the term that informs the decisions we make and the actions we take.
Equity is is the "equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs…in which distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure” (Bell, 2007). We recognize that our current system is inequitable, and that "exploitation is not only economically based, but can emanate from gender, racial, and nationality based exploitation" (Hooks, 1994).
To achieve Equity, we must "understand oppression and one's own socialization within oppressive systems" (Bell, 2007), "unveil and transform oppressive policies and practices" (Mthewthwa-Sommers, 2012), and locate ourselves "within social, economic, and political hierarchical structure" (Friere, 1970).
In this space, we will "engage in intellectual exchange where people hear a diversity of viewpoints, enabling them to witness first hand solidarity that grows stronger in a context of productive critical exchange and confrontation" (Hooks, 1994, cited in Florence, 1998).
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Mthethwa-Sommers, S. (2012). Déjà vu: Dynamism of racism in policies and practices aimed at alleviating discrimination. In C. Clark, K. Fasching-Varner, & M. Brimhall-Vargas (Eds.), Occupying the academy: Just how important is diversity work in higher education. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.
Mthethwa-Sommers, S. (2014). Narratives of social justice educators: Standing firm. Springer.