Posted by Jerry Griffin, Jr. on Feb 25, 2022
As Black History Month has drawn to an end and the transition into women’s history month has begun, I want to share some inspiration, reflection, and hope in alignment with the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at AWWA.
AWWA DEI Committee, we envision breaking through change barriers and ingraining DEI standards as a cultural norm within the VA AWWA community – touching every aspect of and everyone in the water sector of Virginia.
I have the privilege of serving as the Vice-Chair of this Committee.
This newly formed DEI committee has been birthed out necessity after years of non-engagement concerning many large and complex social issues. These issues of race, diversity, and inequities can weigh heavily on people and they seem to be growing more deeply and noticeably.  While this is certainly not a unique issue to our industry alone, we have made the decision not to remain the same. 
Often, we want to help the oppressed, the under-served, the indigenous, minorities, and others in our communities…. And then we must ponder … How can this be done in a meaningful and sustainable way?
Great question.  
My answer is to start and incorporate hope in every aspect.
I believe one of the most important things we need to have as we go forward is hope.
With the essential work of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we must continue to push forward, create progress, and remain hopeful. This hope is what can thrust us through difficult moments and work hopefully that the future is better than our present.
Unified through all differences we can cultivate a safe environment. This is the shared Purpose of the AWWA DEI Committee – “To lead and empower diversity and inclusion in our community by creating opportunity and cultivating belonging so ALL can thrive; acting in a way that is equitable, sustainable, and intentional.”
This work can feel lonely with the end goal seeming unattainable. 
I encourage you to remember this:  Progress over Perfection and you are never alone in this work. There is a robust community of DEI Allies all around you. Reach for the community and the community will reach for you.
VA AWWA Community, we are eager to engage in this necessary work. We are collaborating across the state to make an impact.  Be on the lookout and discover how we engage the Water Sector of Virginia and become a prolific example of a workplace environment with incredible DEI standards.
Jerry Griffin Jr.
Public Information Officer
Lynchburg Water Resources