We weren’t able to acknowledge these forward-thinking, action-taking members of the MacEwan community in person this week as planned, but we’re incredibly proud to announce the first group of IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility) Leaders at the university.
The new initiative from the Office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity (OHRDE) recognizes alumni, students, staff and faculty for advancing and promoting equity, inclusion and human rights on campus or in the community.
Crystal Jones (University Transfer, Bachelor of Physical Education, ’07) is the initiative’s first Alumni Leader. Crystal’s parents were her early advocacy role models, making sure she had early access to sign language after she became deaf at the age of 2, due to meningitis. Years later as a student at MacEwan, Crystal began speaking out about human rights for deaf people and sharing her own experiences. Since 2016, Crystal has been a volunteer member of the City of Edmonton’s Accessibility Advisory Council, helping to make open captioning available at City Hall Meetings. Just a few months ago, she even successfully convinced actor Ryan Reynolds to caption a video he had shared on Twitter.
“Being recognized as a IDEA leader allows me to try to empower other people with disabilities to bring authenticity, uniqueness and add value to our families, communities, leadership positions, workplaces and society,” says Crystal.
Irfan Chaudhry, director of OHRDE, says nominations for the initiative’s first recipients were impressive.
“I was floored by the many ways people on our campus are addressing issues that could lead to direct or indirect discrimination,” he says. “The work of equity, diversity and inclusion isn’t something done solely by the OHRDE office. It’s a collective, shared responsibility.”
Congratulations to each of MacEwan University’s 2020 IDEA Leaders, who are advancing equity, inclusion and human rights in our community in their own unique ways:
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.