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Civic Impact

Dignity and Respect Fest brings inclusion and multiculturalism to the multitudes

UPMC's workplace inclusion program has now gone from an internal effort to a community-wide, free Dignity and Respect Fall Festival set for Oct. 16 at Schenley Plaza in Oakland.

"We are planning for it to be an annual event," says Dawnita Wilson, who is program director of inclusion initiatives at UPMC's Center for Inclusion and manager of the Center's Dignity and Respect Campaign.

The Campaign began in 2008 with UPMC employees pledging their support for inclusion in their workplace. Employee groups devised 30 tips to help with the effort, from simple courtesies to being open, flexible and "culturally competent."

"Dignity and respect to them meant these small little behaviors that we lose sight of on a day-to-day basis things we learn when we are young," notes Wilson.

The Campaign then became a wider initiative last year, gaining 60 community partners who spearheaded a literal pledge drive 5,000 people throughout the area pledged to honor the Campaign's goals of fostering multiculturalism and diversity. The Campaign also offers a monthly Dignity and Respect Champion Award, most recently to Barbara Murock, a county behavioral-health specialist who works toward better health-care policy for vulnerable groups.

This year's festival, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will celebrate those same principles and offer some fun, including rock climbing by Venture Outdoors, multicultural entertainment from UMOJA African Arts Company and lion dancers/kung fu artists Steel Dragon, alongside games, health and educational information and other free stuff.

For more information, call 412-864-3582 or click here to e-mail.

Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Dawnita Wilson, UPMC Center for Inclusion
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