- Departments & Offices I - Z
- Inclusion Office
Our Core Purpose
Our core purpose is to create a better Athens Together by closing the gaps, expanding access, and improving outcomes. By actively listening and learning, we aim to meet every person where they are. We take consistent, focused action to cultivate a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable Athens-Clarke County where a person’s identity is no longer a predictor of outcomes.
We within The Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County are committed to clear and consistent action on inclusion, diversity, equity, and belonging as we deliver services, administer programs, and steward public resources. To that end, we assess and evaluate our policies, processes, procedures, and resource allocations on an ongoing basis to ensure that our actions align with building an Athens-Clarke County where a person’s identity is no longer a predictor of outcomes.
We recognize that making room for more voices, actively valuing and respecting our differences, identifying and addressing disparities, and closing gaps requires more than our good intentions. This work demands connection, active listening, communication, coordination, and collaboration, while we grapple with our history and remain responsive to needs that are present throughout our community and staff, in order to increase quality of life and positive outcomes for all.
What does Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity mean?
Definition of Inclusion
Inclusion means the choices, methods, and strategies that create room for more voices, and cultivate an environment where every individual and group is actively acknowledged, welcomed, respected, and valued in a manner that supports their full participation.
ACCGov Inclusion Action Statement
We commit to making room for more voices and building pathways for increased understanding and participation in local government processes. We understand and actively value differences of perspective, background, and experience, while acknowledging that the need for belonging cannot be met without real and meaningful access to opportunities to engage, listen, understand, and be responded to with respect and dignity.
The commitment (short version): We make room for more voices
Why do we value inclusion?
Because meeting people where they are, and creating spaces where people feel valued and their voices heard is essential. We must work to create an environment where people feel seen, heard, valued, and safe sharing their lived experiences, ideas, and input. Inclusion is foundational to taking responsive action in ways that lead to transformational change.
Definition of Diversity
Diversity includes human differences across a range of lived experiences, identities, and backgrounds. Valuing diversity requires actively seeking out and acknowledging individual and group differences while prioritizing the benefits of representation.
ACCGov Diversity Action Statement
We commit to actively valuing, acknowledging, and making room for human beings with different identities, backgrounds, histories, experiences, and perspectives to be represented and incorporated into our decision-making processes.
The commitment (short version): We value differences
Why do we value diversity?
Because by taking active steps to value differences instead of judging or dismissing differences, we lay the foundation to make room for more voices, accurately identify and assess the impact of structures and policies on individuals and populations, while making choices that emphasize connection, listening, belonging, growth, and sustained change.
Definition of Equity
Equity means justice, fairness, and including the different lived experiences, backgrounds, and needs of individuals and groups in policies and practices in order to close the gaps and improve outcomes. Equity requires the evaluation of policies and processes to ensure that we are identifying and eliminating disparities, and moving towards an Athens-Clarke County where identity is no longer a predictor of outcomes.
ACCGov Equity Action Statement
We commit to taking consistent action to identify and close gaps in order to increase positive outcomes throughout our community. We implement policies and procedures to ensure fair treatment and access to resources. We evaluate and assess the impact of our policies on residents and staff to ensure that we are responding to populations based on specific identified needs, rather than assumptions.
The commitment (short version): We aim to close the gaps
Why do we value equity?
Because it is our responsibility to take action to meet people where they are, assess and grapple with the individual, structural, and systemic impact of law, policy, and history, and then work together consistently to put structures, processes, and supports in place that close the gaps and change the outcomes.
“It is not enough to just ask, to what end are we creating a culture of belonging? We must also ask: Who belongs? How is belonging created? What are we seeking to belong to? How are we participating in advancing or narrowing that belonging? Identifying, amplifying and cultivating aspects of culture that make real a world in which many worlds fits, is the seed of cultural strategy”. (Source)
Why do we value belonging?
A person’s sense of belonging is a fundamental human need.
"When researchers refer to the concept of social connection, they mean the feeling that you belong to a group and generally feel close to other people. Scientific evidence strongly suggests that this is a core psychological need, essential to feeling satisfied with your life." (Source)
Why do we value connection?
Because belonging starts with connection and is the foundation on which community and shared values are built. Creating space for connection is a fundamental piece in cultivating trust and collaboration, engagement and action.
"I suspect that the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. And especially if it's given from the heart. When people are talking, there's no need to do anything but receive them. Just take them in. Listen to what they're saying. Care about it. Most times caring about it is even more important than understanding it”. (Source)
Why do we value listening?
Because listening is a critical element in understanding, identifying, and honoring the dignity of human beings. Without listening, informed and responsive action is not possible.
LISTEN: BONUS RESOURCE on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Listening.
*Please note that this is not a comprehensive list.
Get in Touch
Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact us via phone at Inclusion Office, Main Line: 706-613-3015
Follow us on instagram @athenstogether
We deeply believe in meeting you exactly where you are, so we encourage you to reach out to us via your preferred method of connection. Whether it's email, a phone call, hosting a virtual meeting, or a site visit, we're open to listening and providing support.
Please note: We value your thoughts, needs, questions, and concerns, and will do our best to respond as quickly as possible. Although our office's capacity for care is boundless, our response time correlates with our bandwidth and may not always be immediate. Thank you for your patience.
*Please monitor for updated content.
**Please note that the Inclusion Office is not responsible for third-party content.