Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

Our Why:

The Chicago Botanic Garden stands firmly opposed to systemic and institutional racism.

In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement catalyzed a process of learning at the Garden. We recognize that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), the LGBTQIA+, and Disabled communities encounter barriers to safely experiencing gardens, forest preserves, and parks—a direct result of historical oppression and violence in outdoor spaces.

As an institution, we acknowledge the inequities that exist within cultural institutions. Botanic gardens, along with the broader U.S. environmental movement, have made significant and important contributions to the world. They also have a history of oppressive practices that persist today.
 
The effects of these legacies of oppression are still present today, when we consider which communities have access to green space, clean drinking water, fresh and high-quality food, safe outdoor spaces, and resources that are designed to offer collective access.
 
As one of the world’s great living museums and conservation science centers, the Chicago Botanic Garden acknowledges our imperative to lead by example. We can do more to address equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) within our own organization. We recommit ourselves to live our mission and values as we strive to make the Chicago Botanic Garden a place where all—including staff, students, program participants, visitors, and volunteers—have a sense of community, safety, and belonging.

How We Define EDIA:

  • We are prioritizing the needs of our community members that continue to face the most barriers. (Equity)
  • Multiple perspectives and identities are represented in the communities we are a part of. (Diversity)
  • All members of a community can participate in decision-making that impacts them directly. (Inclusion)
  • Resources and experiences are fully available and offered to all community members, along the continuum of human ability. (Accessibility)

EDIA Priorities for 2022

  • Embed Garden values into organizational culture for internal and external impact.
  • Establish a learning culture that includes more opportunities for feedback and professional development opportunities.
  • Increase equity and transparency in Garden policies and procedures, specifically around decision-making and recruitment.

EDIA-Related Initiatives:

  • Interpretive Framework redesign & Audience Research
    • Telling complete and honest stories to deeply engage our audiences
  • Equitable Admissions Plan for Community Partners & Program Alumni
    • Ensuring BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and Disabled communities have access to our campuses
  • Commitment to Indigenous Communities
    • Intentionally building relationships with Indigenous communities
  • Internal Compensation Study
    • Centering equity in our approach to compensation and commitment to recruiting and retaining top talent in the field
  • De-escalation training for frontline staff
    • Preparing our staff with the proper tools to responsibly engage with the public