Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the taskforce?
As an organization geared towards providing opportunities for all, Virginia 4-H must be a safe and inclusive space for everyone. This teen-led task force assesses issues related to equity in 4-H and design and implements solutions to foster an environment where youth can feel welcome.

What are the goals and mission of the taskforce?

  • Advocating for the use of inclusive language to support 4-Hers and adult volunteers that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, people with disabilities, or part of other minority and underrepresented groups.  
  • Creating opportunities and resources for 4-H members, adult volunteers, and extension staff to learn about issues in diversity and inclusion to better themselves and their programs. 
  • Researching and developing best practices for creating a more equitable organization.

What does equity and inclusion mean?
Equity and inclusion means creating an environment where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives of a diverse population are harnessed, and each person is authentically valued, respected, and supported. It also means giving everyone access to the resources needed to reduce or eliminate barriers.
Source: Fields, N. 2019

Why is this taskforce needed?
4-H is an organization for all, and we are working to serve all youth, even those in marginalized communities. We should ensure that 4-H is a safe space for everyone that needs one, make sure that where change is needed, work is being done, and spotlight all youth and their leadership. Really, 4-H as an organization needs to make the best better for all.

Is equity really an issue in Virginia 4-H?
Equity is an issue for every aspect of society to tackle. Though not everyone directly experiences the effects of inequity, many youth feel excluded from the 4-H program or have to work much harder than others to participate and fit in with their 4-H peers.

Is this really an issue for 4-H to address?
Yes! In recent years, 4-H has begun focusing on increasing equity and belonging at the national level through programs like the True Leaders in Equity Institute, and the Diversity and Inclusion Working Team, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce, and the Access Equity and Belonging Committee. 4-H’ers in Washington state pioneered a teen-led group advocating for equity and inclusion. 4-H is the perfect place to address inequities and positively impact the lives of youth.

What is representation?

Representation is simply being represented in a group of people. Representation can be in gender, race, and other identities. Representation is important as when members of a group, culture, or community are not represented in a group or organization; they may be less likely to get involved in that group. Having mentors and peers with shared experiences is empowering and encouraging.

What is social justice?

“The act of distributing power, resources, opportunity, societal benefits and protection in a way that is equitable for all members of society.” Source (N. Fields, 2019)

What is implicit bias?

“The attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.” Source (N. Fields, 2019)

What are pronouns?

Learn about pronouns and why they are important here!

Practice using pronouns here!

How can I make my club or 4-H group more inclusive?

Resources coming soon! Feel free to contact us, we would love to chat!

Why should every area of the commonwealth work to address these issues?

LGBTQ+ youth, youth of color, and other minority groups are everywhere, even when it does not seem like it! 4-H isn’t inclusive until every 4-H club, group and event is inclusive. Inclusion starts from the top, and all of VA 4-H must work to make 4-H a more inclusive place where all youth feel valued and welcomed, living up to the Virginia Cooperative Extention Incidia Statement and National 4-H’s commitment to providing opportunities for all.

How can I get involved?

Visit our application page or email va4hequity@gmail.com! Applications are open on a rolling basis.

Still have questions?

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