Important Definitions


A person who supports equity-seeking groups by taking action to advocate for inclusion, challenge acts of oppression, and explore biases within themselves.  


The active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies, practices, and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably. 


Acronym for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color 


Differences in people’s unique qualities, attributes, perspectives, and lived experiences. These can include (but are not limited to) race, color, place of origin, religion, ethnic origin, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and age. 


An acronym for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. 


The fair and respectful treatment of all people, particularly diverse communities, through creating opportunities and removing systemic barriers and disparities which are rooted in historical and contemporary injustices and disadvantages. 


Groups of people who share cultural traits that they characterize as different from those of other groups. An ethnic group is often understood as sharing a common origin, language, ancestry, spirituality, history, values, traditions, and culture. 


An active, intentional, and continuous process to address inequities in power, privilege, and opportunity. This process aims to ensure that all individuals are represented, valued, respected, and receive equal support. 


The intertwining of social identities such as gender, race, ethnicity, social class, religion, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity, which can result in unique experiences, opportunities, and barriers. 


Acronym used to refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer and Two-Spirit (2S) people. Additional letters, or a + sign, are sometimes added to this acronym (i.e., LGBTQ+, LGBTQIA2S, etc.). 


A social process by which individuals or groups are (intentionally or unintentionally) distanced from access to power and resources and constructed as insignificant, peripheral, or less valuable/privileged to a community or “mainstream” society. This term describes a social process, so as not to imply a lack of agency. Marginalized groups or people are those excluded from mainstream social, economic, cultural, or political life. 

People of Color 

A collective term for referring to non-White racial groups, often used to advocate for an inclusive and unifying frame across different racial groups to address racial inequities.  


The social, economic, and political advantages or rights held by people from dominant groups based on gender, race, sexual orientation, social class, etc. Unearned social power (set of advantages, entitlements, and benefits). These advantages are held members of dominant group within society (e.g., White people with respect to people of color, men with respect to women, heterosexuals with respect to homosexuals, adults with respect to children, and rich people with respect to poor people). 


Individual, cultural, institutional, and systemic ways by which differential consequences are created for different racial groups. Racism is often grounded in a presumed superiority of the white race over groups historically or currently defined as non-white. Racism can also be defined as “prejudice plus power.” The combination of prejudice and power enables the mechanisms by which racism leads to different consequences for different groups. 


A conventional and oversimplified (mis)understanding, opinion, or image of a group of people. This leads to the false perception that most or all members of a certain group (e.g., racial, ethnic, gender, age, etc.) are the same.