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Building A Sustainable And Inclusive Community

The High Desert Partnership strives to promote collaboration across communities of Southeastern Oregon and is actively engaged in protecting diversity, enacting equity, and fostering inclusion. Our ambition is to contribute to building a sustainable and inclusive community in which ethnic, religious, gender, political and ideological differences are heard and respected. We believe in collaborative relationships in the resolution of the tensions and complex problems that we face collectively.

Diversity is the evidence of the uniqueness of our ecological and social worlds. Humans come in all shapes, ages, genders, ethnicities, identities, sexual orientations, religions, national origins, socioeconomic backgrounds, ideologies, and everyone has the right to be appreciated for their difference and uniqueness. To maintain balanced communities and ecosystems, we need difference and harmony. Individuals can be transformed by what they learn from others and exposure to diversity helps us become wiser and more accepting persons in the world.

Equity aims at producing fairness. It is a stronger commitment than equality because it also challenges the codes and expectations of dominant society and attempts to address others in their own terms. Everyone faces implicit bias, but minorities suffer much more from being less likely to receive opportunities, or to seize them. To be socially fair, we cannot simply expect others to comply with our standards, we also should investigate in what way our standards may discourage others.

Inclusion is the celebration of difference, the expression that others are part of a community, and respected equal individuals. It is an authentic expression of interest, an investment that can produce durable change because it is a shift in spirit, a new definition of the community in which we all belong instead of a society that draws lines and separates people physically or symbolically. To be inclusive should not be an occasional practice, but a systematic effort to foster diverse representation and participation.

Collaboration is our core value, but we recognize that it is culturally defined, and an ever-changing process. Collaboration builds on a synthesis of diversity, equity, and inclusion because it is shaped and produced by the multiple dimensions and values that stakeholders contribute to the collaborative process. The community we serve is vested in southeastern Oregon, but our stakeholders are geographically diverse. We recognize that the area we serve is the ancestral home of the Wadatika band of the Neme, the Northern Paiute people, the indigenous past and present dwellers of this land and the significance that conveys for native culture, spirituality, and heritage. Our community of stakeholders is comprised of people of many ages, genders, ethnicities, identities, sexual orientations, religions, national origins, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ideologies. Equity and inclusion among our stakeholders are critical to our mission of successfully advancing collaborative processes and solutions that balance ecological, social, and economic values.