What is Belonging, Dignity and Justice (BDJ)?
At Internews, we believe everyone should be able to work in an environment in which they feel safe, can be themselves and are treated with respect. Belonging, Dignity and Justice describes the work we do internally to ensure this is the case. This framework is intended to surpass traditional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by embedding universal values into our work and conversations. We believe the principles of BDJ are mission-critical to all that we do and are deeply committed to this transformative process.
- Belonging: When you feel safe as you are.
- Dignity: When your inherent voice and nature is respected and honored.
- Justice: To make right and whole; to repair harm.
In 2020, a series of documented murders by American police officers set off a global chain of reactions and a call for social justice. While this call was not new, the world’s spotlight was put on the way those most marginalized are treated. Many companies immediately reacted, issuing diversity statements and creating diversity positions in title alone. Many of those reactions were criticized for their short-sightedness and lack of commitment. Like many around the world, Internews was called upon to respond. Instead of acting haphazardly, we set upon a deliberate path of weaving Belonging, Dignity, and Justice into the soul of Internews. We are grateful for the support of Decolonize Design who originated the BDJ concept and who have supported Internews in this work.
These principles are fundamental to us at Internews and here is how they are applied in our work:
- Belonging: Internews staff, partners, and the communities we serve all over the world should be treated as kindred members of our global, multicultural community. To do this, we will place understanding, rapport-building, and connection first to ensure that our people feel in communion with each other.
- Dignity: Internews works in partnership with the communities we serve, the people best placed to know what works. To do this, we will respect and honor their lived experience and perspectives and elevate their voices.
- Justice: The media and information sector can be distorted by elite gatekeepers, captured media, disinformation and misinformation, or by political conflicts and natural disasters. We wish to repair it. To do this, we will work to reform the sector to be more inclusive and representative of the communities it serves.
What Have We Done & Where are We Going?
In June 2020, we made specific commitments about how we at Internews would address racism to ensure our organization is one in which our people and partners genuinely have the opportunity to thrive.
One year later, here is what we have done to further those commitments. There has been lots of other work done and more to come:
- Creation of a BDJ team within HR, People & Culture
- Established an Affirmative Action Program (US)
- BDJ Staff Learning Sessions
- Organizational Climate Assessment and survey
- Launch of Work Groups to tackle priorities from the assessment
- Recruiting program improvements
- Run job descriptions through Gender Decoder to remove bias
- Added HBCUs, 50+ other schools, and additional job boards to posting list
- Launch of Affinity Groups (Employee Resource Groups)
- BDJ Staff Learning Sessions + Train the Trainers
- Co-creation of a list of BDJ behaviors for all staff
- Compensation framework development
- Onboarding program improvements
- Manager and soft skills training program
Still to Come
- Compensation analysis
- Establish pay bands and career development path
- Further recruitment process improvements
- Country-level workshops
- Guidelines for inclusive language
- Accessibility audit
In 2015, Internews developed a set of core values as a reflection of who we are, how we work together, and what we aspire to as a community. We believe these core values are compatible with and integral to our commitment to Belonging, Dignity and Justice at Internews.
- Listen and Learn Continuously: We are curious and responsive, driven by a spirit of creativity and innovation.
- Build Community: We value open communication and dialogue. We treat each other kindly, collaborate, and support each other.
- Act with Integrity and Persistence: We build trust, hold ourselves to a high standard, and don’t give up.
- Commit to Making a Difference: We are passionate about improving lives and creating positive change in the world.
- Bring Optimism and Excitement: We approach our work with enthusiasm and love what we do.