DEI in Licking County

Recently, the United Way sponsored an event addressing the topic of DEI in Licking County.  Four speakers were present to cover the concept, held at the Licking County Aging Program on January 10th. In light of this event, the Newark Daily Times has chosen to take a closer look at this subject..

DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)  is offered up as a tool to promote “the fair treatment and full participation of all people”, as well as rectifying injustices against groups “who have historically been under-represented or subject to discrimination on the basis of identity or disability.” (Wikipedia)

While DEI is commonly equated to Corporate diversity training programs, it’s presence can also be found in various organizations such as universities, hospitals, and most recently the Federal Aviation Agency.  According to Wikipedia, criticism has been leveled questioning the effectiveness of the program, such as “diversity training” programs, as well as “it’s effect on free speech and academic freedom”, and it’s propensity to generate concerns on “political and philosophical grounds”.

Recent National news articles have reported various corporations as turning away from DEI as too controversial, as well as suggesting in many cases that the effort “backfired” in regard to the financial well-being of the business entity after it’s introduction. 

CNBC reports that some companies have “laid off DEI staffers” and are “downsizing learning and development programs”, as well as cutting budgets for “external DEI groups by as much as 90% in 2023” A current controversy arose last week concerning John Hopkins Medicine institute after an email was released from it’s Chief Diversity Officer, listing the following groups as having “privilege” given to them as “unearned benefits”:

-White people

-Able-bodied people



-Middle-aged people

-Heterosexuals /cisgenders

-English-speaking individuals

-“Owning class” people

The organization fielded demands from various groups to dismantle the program, as well as terminate the CDO. The group Do No Harm accused John Hopkins of creating a toxic, hostile work environment for individuals who fall under these classifications. Other groups strongly equate DEI with identity politics, saying that these  “marginalized identities” do not equate to qualifications for a given position; in other words, the cultural background of an applicant has no bearing on their ability to perform the skill set required of the position.  Nor does it translate into a more qualified individual for the position, in relation to other applicants with equal or greater experience and skills.

Further concerns have been voiced addressing the possibility of lowering standards to accommodate DEI goals.  This would be a valid concern in the fields of medicine, transportation safety, as well as other critical services if indeed ability was not the primary qualifier. 

Nobody should ever question that ALL people be given equal consideration, and equal chance, at every opportunity in our country.  Laws have been enacted to ensure this right, and they provide recourse against valid discrimination when found in our society.   The American Dream is based on this safeguard; that all Americans can strive for and achieve their goals devoid of obstacles, and their efforts be rewarded accordingly. 

Whereas this commitment may not have been recognized in this country’s unenlightened past history, as with many other nations, our modern society has taken great pains to ensure that opportunities in the United States are available to all. Laws are in place as a remedy to counter any acts to the contrary. 

A high tide raises all ships, and fairness toward all people benefits everyone.

Below you will find the mission statements of the Licking County United Way, as well as other neighboring U.W. agencies. It is our hope that our local U.W. mission statement does not affect donations or contributions from sources ascribing to the concerns prominent in national news, as mentioned in this article. The need for inclusion is critical for EVERY community; other elements of DEI have been suggested as contributing to divisiveness, such as a “we vs them” orientation. Regardless of the validity of those views, the topic is being fiercely debated nationwide. Perceptions count, and we sincerely hope that this debate does not affect the many needed services provided by this agency to the residents of Licking County.

This is an ongoing topic; corrections and opinions pro and con may be submitted to [email protected]

Statement and Principals


Mission and Principles


Mission and Principles



Mission and Principles

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Mission and Principles



The United Way Mission Statement from Muskingum, Perry, Knox, and Guernsey County.