Expanding Accesss Quarterly extension civil rights leadership team

Summer 2019

Q&A with Teresa Curtis

Teresa Curtis began working for UW-Extension ten years ago as a state specialist focusing on emerging audiences in the former Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program (WNEP), now known as FoodWIse. Since then, Teresa has been involved in numerous efforts supporting inclusion and culturally-responsive programing, including creation of the mapping workshops for county colleagues. She recently took on the new role of Expanding Access and Engagement Specialist in the new Program Support Services unit. Her knowledge and experience on how to incorporate expanding access into various aspects of the program development process will greatly benefit colleagues across the state.

Below is an excerpt of a conversation between Teresa Curtis and Shelley King-Curry, Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

Tell us about your new role and goals.

TC: The primary focus of my new role is to assist the organization in developing and implementing programming efforts that are equitable and responsive to opportunities within communities. I will focus on specific needs around expanding access and relationship building with staff in counties, areas, and within institutes so that, as an organization, we are more effective in addressing social, racial, environmental, health, and economic disparities.

My goals are to help colleagues develop an equity and empowerment lens, then integrate expanding access and relationship building into all aspects of the program development process across all levels - individual, team, and institute. In order for our organization to move forward with developing equitable programming, it is important for us to have a foundation and a common language for understanding our own experiences, how we interact with and impact individuals and communities, and how we can build sustainable and authentic relationships. In addition to supporting the enhancement of foundational knowledge and language, I will also advise on policy and structures that will support our colleagues' efforts. This includes working with leadership to promote clear expectations.

How will you engage and support colleagues?

TC: I do my best to meet people where they are. This requires that I build trust and understanding, not tell people what to do. I am so lucky to be able to work with a truly amazing group of dedicated and hard-working colleagues, and I’m not sure they know how important their work is. I’ve had so many conversations with colleagues who are uncomfortable talking about their expanding access and relationship building efforts because they don’t think they are doing enough, or that they are not “doing it right.” I believe our colleagues are doing the best they can with the tools, guidance, and structures we have in place. So, with our more experienced colleagues, I guide them to recognize the value in their current efforts and support them through the process of planning next steps. With our newer colleagues, I walk it back a bit further and then zoom out to give them the big picture: what expanding access is and how cultivating the skills to expand access and build relationships begins with realizing and knowing their own attitudes, beliefs and values, and then expands to include interpersonal, organizational and societal levels. Working closely with colleagues has taught me that developing a multi-layered understanding and positive perception toward the people we are trying to reach ultimately results in gaining cultural humility and confidence for working across and within differences.

What can we expect to have happen with the Expanding Access Mapping Workshops?

TC: These will continue. We are planning to resume the foundational workshop in the fall for areas who have had significant turnover or who have not yet had the foundational workshop. The goal is to provide the workshops first to the counties or areas with civil rights reviews in 2020. In the past there was much success when we aligned the workshops with the civil rights reviews to help areas prepare. I am also developing a “next steps” workshop that will help areas prioritize and plan to reach audiences they aren’t currently reaching, and then design and implement educational approaches in partnership with communities. Translating community demographics, and other sources of information, that help educators foster a more nuanced understanding of populations in their area is something I love doing, and it’s necessary to evolve the process, build it out, and add companion pieces.

What more can be expect from you in your new role?

TC: I will continue to be available to support organization-wide efforts focused on equity, diversity and inclusion as I have in the past. Next is to work with the Civil Rights Leadership Team in providing content for upcoming online learning modules focused on efforts for meeting civil rights compliance. As for the rest – stay tuned! I’m exploring options for personal and team coaching. And, this is really exciting, the Expanding Access Team (myself and other colleagues in Program Support Services) will assemble a menu of options that will enable colleagues to better understand the context for programming, including the way individuals, communities, and organizations are shaped by the races, ethnicities, ages, languages, cultures, genders, abilities and other identities held.

Third online civil rights training module available

The Civil Rights Leadership Team is excited to announce the availability of a new and third civil rights online training module. Module 3 is titled, “Fundamentals of Expanding Access”. This training module will guide you through the steps of the expanding access cycle to support your efforts in reaching underserved/underrepresented populations in your programming. The training module consists of a 17-minute video, activities to apply the learning, additional resources to explore, and a quiz to review the knowledge you’ve gained.

All Extension colleagues need to have the basic knowledge and skills to assure compliance with our civil rights responsibilities This module continues our commitment to advance your learning and increase your skills as Extension professionals to increase diversity and inclusion in your programming.

Call to action: add an expanding access record in the Recording Results system

Summer is here! Now that we are half-way through 2019 it’s time to reflect on the goals you made this year for expanding access in your programming. Consider this a status check on both your county and personal civil rights action plans. Have you been using all reasonable efforts to reach audiences that have been underserved and underrepresented in your programming? Those who are defined as categorically protected from discrimination in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be receiving a lot of your focus. For our purposes, protected groups/audiences are women, Blacks or African Americans, American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, those who identify as some other race, people of mixed race, Hispanics or Latinos. Also include people with disabilities and veterans.

Please take time this month to review and reflect on your efforts and make notes on what went well and what did not.

  • Describe your efforts. Did you try something new?
  • Which audience(s) did you reach out to?
  • What barriers did you encounter?
  • What did you learn and how will you apply this knowledge in the future?
  • What difference did your effort(s) make and for which audiences?
  • Have you documented these efforts in your civil rights files?

Taking the time to reflect on your efforts is the second step after making the efforts. The third step is to add an Expanding Access Record in the Recording Results System. Expanding Access Records are a way to report on your work and can used for telling your story during a civil rights review, performance management conversation, or other program reporting activity. Answering the questions above will help you add an Expanding Access Record quickly. We know you have a full plate of commitments and deadlines, but taking the time now to review and reflect keeps you on track with your expanding access goals and gives you the information you need for reporting.

The emerging preference for "HMoob" as a term of self-identification

by Ariana Thao

While most people have seen “Hmong” or “Hmoob” appear in text, fewer people have seen the word “HMoob” or understand where it came from. As a member of the HMoob American Studies Committee at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and as a HMoob person, I am writing this article to discuss an emergent trend related to how HMoob community members self-identify. In Wisconsin, as well as other parts of the United States, compositional diversity within HMoob communities includes linguistic diversity. The language spoken by HMoob communities is comprised of two main dialects, Green (Moob Leeg) and White (Hmoob Dawb), with of course a number of different variations of these two dialects.

The term “HMoob” was created by community members as a more inclusive alternative to the other terms (i.e. “Hmong,” “Mong,” and “Hmoob”) that are written in a Latin-based alphabet. The term “HMoob” is considered to be more inclusive because it incorporates graphemes (i.e. letters) from all three other terms of group-based identity.

Image source: The HMoob American Studies Committee at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Throughout written work, the HMoob people and language have been categorized under the generic term “Hmong”. However, the HMoob people and language represent a diverse group of communities and identities. The usage of the spelling of Hmong reflects the White dialect pronunciation and word structures of Hmoob used by predominantly Caucasian, English dominant speakers. Additionally, the Green dialect is pronounced as Mong under these structures. Differently, the usage of the Romanized Popular Alphabet (RPA) spelling of Hmoob reflects the written system predominantly used by HMoob Americans. The spelling denotes the voice inflections and tones necessary to pronounce the words correctly.

To be more inclusive of the different communities within the larger HMoob community, this movement to incorporate the spelling of “HMoob” in literature and writings was developed. As a we [re]claim our own narratives and to assert our own authentic level of self-determination, the HMoob American Studies Committee at the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed this different spelling. This spelling comes about as the combination of different pronunciations, identities, and forms of language. Thus, the spelling is changed from Hmong to Hmoob to claim the Romanized Popular Alphabet that is used as the dominant form of the written HMoob language. Additionally, the capital letters “H” and “M” represent the two dominant dialects spoken by the HMoob people. When saying HMoob, the “H” is heard by those who speak the white dialect, while those who speak the green dialect are heard without the “H” sound. Therefore, the capital “H” and the capital “M” represents the purposeful inclusion of both dominant dialect groups. In the culmination of these reasonings, the spelling of Hmong as HMoob was created.

In our work as the HMoob American Studies Committee, we developed the term as a rebranding of our organization to reflect our own identities instead of how the larger society identifies us. Furthermore, the “Our HMoob American College Paj Ntaub” research team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison used this term as a way to better explain their participants’ identities in their study on the experiences of HMoob American college students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Thus, as the HMoob communities establish themselves around the United States, they have worked toward movements to be recognized in the smaller and larger spaces. From literature to taking part in the larger political system of the United States, the HMoob people have worked to be a part of their communities. This movement incorporates the different language usage works to ensure that the spelling of HMoob is integrated into writing and soon replaces the spelling of Hmong. To change this spelling is to recognize the different communities within the HMoob community, but to also allow HMoob persons to determine how their own identity is represented within the literature. This movement is meant for those who identify as HMoob to advocate for in their own programming, as well for non-HMoob persons and their corresponding agencies to reconsider how the term is represented in text-based form.

employee spotlight

Imelda Delchambre

Where do you live? Sturgeon Bay

Where did you grow up? Laredo, Texas

How many years have you been in Extension? Since January 1, 2001

Tell us about your role in Extension. I was the first Bilingual Nutrition Educator hired in Door and Kewaunee Counties.

What motivates you in your position? Reaching out to people that have no idea about what Extension is and how we can serve them, reaching people from other countries that are trying to thrive in Door and Kewaunee Counties.

What do you like most about being a member of the Latino Employees Resource Group (LERG)? Getting together to plan ideas to better serve our communities, to better their futures, and sharing ideas.

Do you have any unique or surprising fact about you that you'd like to share with us? After starting with UW-Extension as a bilingual nutrition educator, I got the idea that I should start a 4-H club with Latino children. Later, Home Community Education Club (HCE) started Nuestra Familia HCE Club in Kewaunee County 12 years ago and Door County Hispanics HCE Club 10 years ago. I am very proud of these people wanting to be a part of Extension. Also, I feel very blessed to belong to a group of great colleagues that do great work.

UW-Madison equal opportunity/affirmative action compliance statements

One of the countless tasks involved in our transition to UW-Madison is updating the EO/AA compliance statements that are required to appear on our publications. You can find these statements in three official versions; condensed, abbreviated, and long, on the University Relations website.

Farewell to Shelley King-Curry

It is with heavy hearts that we say farewell to Shelley King-Curry. Shelley will be leaving her position as Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the end of July. She is packing up and moving to the east coast for a position with the University of Maryland Extension and to be closer to her family. As she says it, "I'm trading in brats and cheese curds for crab cakes!"

Shelley King-Curry

Shelley came to Cooperative Extension in 2005 and served as a Family Living Programs Specialist with the Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program (now FoodWIse) before becoming the Director of Diversity and Inclusion. In 2014, she received the UW System Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award. Her nominator for that award attributed her success from her life and early career experience—her understanding and empathy was developed working with low resource people in Detroit, where she grew up. We appreciate that she never was one to shy away from uncomfortable discussions about inclusion issues.

Recently, she was instrumental in establishing the Latino Task Force. We echo the words of Dan Veroff, a colleague and task force member, who said, "I've always appreciated the passion and wisdom that you share with us all and know that the organization was better because of you!" Thank you, Shelley. You made a difference!

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background - people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.


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