Diversity + Inclusion (February Update)

Diversity + Inclusion (February Update)

This is our Diversity + Inclusion Committee and we are WIPA!

Our journey as Members for WIPA’s 2021 Diversity + Inclusion Committee began in February with our first meeting taking place on February 9th. We took a deep dive into what was our ‘why’ for joining the committee, what we are hoping to achieve throughout the year, and strategize on how to set our established Action Plan in motion.  It is important to note that although we all have our individual reasons for being on the Committee, there is no doubt that we are in this together for ONE reason: to bring about meaningful change and foster a community that embraces diversity, promotes equality and is inclusive to everyone.  To quote Jax from Atlanta, whom said it best, “To co-create with WIPA an inclusive and equitable culture that encourages and supports all not by word but by action”.

We want to share with our Members some of our WHY’s:

Chanda Daniels: I am here because I am invested in seeing this change happen. I’ve wanted this for many years. I want to be at the table when the change is developing. It’s important to me. Often black creatives are highly underestimated in this industry, and it’s unfair. I want me being on this committee to inspire others who look like me to ‘step out of their estimate and step into their excellence.’ Beyonce, BIGGER.

Eric Acuna, SoCal Chapter (missing in our photo): My why is simple! I believe in people and the celebration of LOVE! LOVE knows no boundaries or labels and is inclusive. I want to be part of a journey where WIPA will strive to be diverse + inclusive. I look forward to making sure every part of our community is represented, supported + celebrated!

Loren Petrowski, Director at Large: I’m biracial, Asian/White but look 100% white, and due to an early divorce, was raised by my Asian side of my family and I identify as Asian.  Fast forward to 2020 and the pandemic and our then President was calling Covid the “China Flu” and hatred against Asians was increasing and has not stopped. I want to be a voice, albeit a small one, for AAPI within our WIPA community.

Jax Vizcaino, Atlanta Chapter: My WHY for volunteering for the first-ever D+I Director position in our Atlanta Chapter is my desire to seek out all underrepresented Wedding Professionals where their truth lives, invite them to have a seat at the table, and provide the tools, education, support and roadmap to living and enjoy a full and happy career in our Industry.

Ricardo Gudino, Las Vegas Chapter: Having witnessed and been a victim of injustices in our community more than I’d like to say, I strive to help make this industry a more welcoming ground for any and all to freely and creatively be who they want to be. It’s a task that will take all of us to work together and come together as one.

Change is happening and we understand that the process takes time. Our roadmap to change is very intentional and deliberate and we are working well together with an open heart and mind. We plan on staying in our lane and remain steadfast in our mission, making progress and milestones with each passing month.

With that being said, we have a few exciting things happening in March that we want to share with you. The Atlanta Chapter had their first D+I Series Talk with the topic of discussion ‘Bridging the Racial Divide’. It was loosely based on the Civic Dinner Platform, and had such a favorable response that we will be hosting one for our Board this month on ‘Racial Equity’. It is our intention to continue the Series Talks on a quarterly basis, being thoughtfully designed with key topics that promote healthy, eye opening and candid conversations.

Additionally, we are launching a monthly initiative that will focus on a theme or a particular subject matter. March is Women’s History Month and we are excited to not only highlight incredible women, but also to celebrate them.  Join us in celebrating the women in your life that have influenced you in some remarkable way.

Peace + Love,

Cindy Celis
2021 WIPA D+I Director