Your bi-monthly DEI news & updates
August 2021
Hello Fellow IREM members –

The Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee is excited to issue the 2nd edition of our bi-monthly newsletter which will contain information to increase our awareness of a variety of topics and upcoming events. The Maryland Chapter members are very diverse with different perspectives and experiences. Creating an environment of acceptance and respect of these differences deliver greater value to us individually as members and collectively as a chapter to make all feel included and deserving of equal treatment and opportunities.
We invite you to support the DEI Initiatives by joining the committee regardless of where you are in your learning journey by attending our upcoming events and by reading our newsletter.

This month’s listen and learn opportunity include the following topics:
International Day of the World's Indigenous People
There are an estimated 476 million indigenous peoples in the world living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 percent of the world's population, but account for 15 percent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.

Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. While retaining social, cultural, economic and political characteristics, the indigenous peoples from around the world share common problems related to the protection of their rights as distinct peoples.

For years, indigenous peoples have attempted to gain recognition “of their identities, their way of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources for years.” Their efforts as a people, have been met with more violations and attempts to take advantage of the indigenous peoples as one of many vulnerable groups of people in the world. International attention now focuses on protecting their rights and maintaining their distinct cultures and way of life.

To raise awareness of the needs of these population groups, every 9 August commemorates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, chosen in recognition of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations held in Geneva in 1982. The following are special events related to indigenous peoples: In 1990, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 1993 the International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples (A/RES/45/164, A/RES/47/75). Later, the General Assembly established two International Decades of the World's Indigenous Peoples: the first 1995 - 2004 (resolution 48/163), and the second 2005 - 2014 (resolution 59/174), with the goal of strengthening international cooperation for solving problems faced by indigenous peoples in areas such as human rights, the environment, development, education, health, economic and social development.

Next year will be the beginning of a new decade for the indigenous community: the celebration of the Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022 – 2032, a door that was opened previously in 2019 with the celebration of the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Contributor: Dawn Rogers
Equity for All!
In the early 19th century, American women, who generally couldn’t inherit property and made half a man’s wages, began organizing to demand political rights and representation. To claim their voice, women began advocating for the right to vote, a right that until recently, most countries denied to half their population, women.

With the certification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution on August 26th, 1920, women secured the right to vote after a decades-long fight. Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of women’s suffrage in the US and reminds us of the hurdles overcome by the heroic women who faced violence and discrimination to propel the women’s movement forward.  Today, the wage gap between men and women still exists and gender-based discrimination still plagues workplaces and business transactions.

To remind us of the struggles of the past, present and future, in 1971 congress designated August 26th as Women’s Equality Day.

Contributor: Rochelle Jackson
The Highest Jewish Holidays
The Highest Jewish Holidays are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. As Americans we tend to celebrate holidays deemed valued by Hallmark. Because Christmas is such a big deal commercially the Jewish “Festival of Lights” better known as Chanukkah is often perceived as an important Jewish holiday. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The highest of Jewish Holidays are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur which are celebrated during the autumn season.

Rosh Hashanah literally translates from Hebrew to mean “Head of the Year.” The day is intended biblically to be a time of rejoicing the completion of another year and a time of introspection to take stock of one’s life. It’s observed with two days of prayers that are the start of Ten Days of Awe which lead to the major fast on Yom Kippur. Traditionally symbols of the holiday include foods such as round challah (bread) or apples. The round shapes represent the eternal cycle of life. It is common practice to dip the challah and apples in honey for hopes of a sweet year ahead. The same story from the Torah (bible scrolls) is read every year as a reminder of the covenant between God and the Hebrew people, sending a message of sacrifice, hope and continuity. Members of the Jewish community generally say L’ Shana Tova meaning have a “good year.”

Following Rosh Hashanah, ten days later, is the culmination of Yom Kippur which means “Day of Atonement.” Jewish people pray for forgiveness of the wrongs they have committed over the past year. Adult Jews (ages 12-13 and older) usually fast on this somber day to devote themselves with heart and mind to God. Symbolically they cleanse their bodies of sin. The fast begins at sundown and ends after 25-hours the following day. Because the fast includes abstaining of water, anyone with health risks and who are pregnant or nursing are exempt from fasting. It’s also common for people to refrain from other bodily pleasures such as brushing one’s teeth, bathing, sexual relations or wearing leather (a sign of luxury in earlier times). After fasting has ended most communities have a nighttime dairy-based meal called Break the Fast which resembles American breakfast foods. People greet each other by saying “Have an easy fast” or the Hebrew phrase “gmar chatima tova,” (may you be inscribed for a good year).

Contributor: Kara Permisohn
Join us on August 25th @ 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. via Zoom for a DEI Meet and Greet and a Topic on Developing Diversity!
DEI Committee Members

Sha'ron Turner

Trevor Ankeny |Dena Calo | Rich Henneberry | Rochelle Jackson |
Kristy Myers | Kara Permisohn | Dawn Rogers | Beverly Willis
The IREM Maryland Chapter 16 recognizes that there is strength in diversity and is committed to cultivating and promoting an ethical culture where differences are celebrated. We are committed to ensuring that members, industry partners, staff, and guests are valued, respected, and provided access to opportunities regardless of race, age, gender identities, sexual orientation, creed, national origin and/or (dis)abilities. Discrimination and inequality are not acceptable; therefore, we encourage all members to listen and learn as we take this journey together and provide ongoing support to disassemble systemic discrimination.