As we continue on our anti-racism journey of learning and unlearning, we would like to introduce Nadia Elkharadly who has been working with us behind the scenes for quite some time. As our official Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator she has a key role in building our collective capacity to make our studio and online spaces safer and more welcoming for all people.
The work of recognizing diversity, and creating equitable, inclusive spaces is not a competition. We know that there are no prizes for being “the most woke”, or for being the loudest online activist. Our goal remains the same – to make our studio and online spaces ones where you feel safe and welcome. As a team, we also know that if this does not come from a place of truth, integrity and authenticity, we will fail and worse, we will lose your trust.
Bringing Nadia on board in an official capacity does not come from a place of fear of being called out, or caught in a faux pas. We also aren’t craving accolades and recognition. It comes from a place of compassion and empathy so we can do better for our strong, sexy, beautiful community.
We know you value accountability and transparency, Vixens. We see it in your discipline and dedication when you show up to class. Those are the values that are driving our inclusivity journey. Accountability will be built right into any of the practices, processes and strategies we create as we shift to a more diverse and inclusive environment.
Nadia’s work with us is informed by her key values: kindness, curiosity, and justice. Kindness ensures that we approach the world and each other with an open heart and mind, hold space for lived experiences and trauma, and create safe and welcoming spaces. Nadia does this in the spaces she stewards and is modelling it for the whole team so we can learn from her example.
Curiosity drives her quest for knowledge, so we can change and do better for ourselves and each other and it prompts a desire to discover what true justice and equity for all really looks like. We look forward to learning how we can make this world a more fair and just place for everyone, not just those who hold the most privilege.
In her role as our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator, Nadia is helping us develop a shared understanding of diversity, inclusion and cultural competence so we can approach things from the same perspective. She is working with Shannon to develop an approach that includes education, communication and collaboration so we can turn social justice concepts into practice. Her intention is to help us better understand what diversity and inclusion mean in the larger, societal sense, and what those values mean in the context of our community.
While conversations about making spaces, and the world, safer and more welcoming to people from all walks of life continue, she is committed to creating an open door policy for staff and clients to express what inclusivity means to them, and what true diversity really looks like so we can minimize blindspots that come from the privilege in our lived experience and limit harm that causes trauma.
So what does a more diversity, equitable and inclusive future for our community look like?
Nadia’s first goal is to open the flow of communication with BV staff, students, and potential students. Through a series of open conversations we will explore where we think we are when it comes to diversity and inclusion, to discuss what we are doing well and what can be improved. This will include more “Healing Happy Hour” gatherings so there is a brave space to share concerns and ideas, and so we can collectively continue on this healing and growth journey towards inclusivity. Look for regular connection conversations which will help ensure we are hearing directly from you, and so we can create bonds as strong as our pole sits and strength holds.
From there, Nadia hopes to work with the Brass Vixens staff on administrative and business practices that require an inclusivity and diversity mindset, which will include updating the Brass Vixens lexicon and client facing content, like website copy, class descriptions and social media output to ensure we are using our words in the best and most mindful way possible. This could include anything from exploring class music choices to ensuring that the Vixens staff team represents the diversity of our students.
This work is a beginning. Nadia recognizes that addressing the pain and trauma that has been caused to marginalized people is the work of a lifetime and we have so much to understand about what it means to truly be an anti-oppressive society. She truly believes that if we can get everyone on board to be open to learning, evolving, striving to do better and continuing this journey of collective healing, that will be the measure of success.