By William Starks

I've been hearing a lot of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, or D.E.I., initiatives lately. Some people and organizations confuse or equate equity with equality. Equity and equality are two different things.

Equity is so much more than equality. Equality, diversity, and inclusion are all good pursuits and goals, but they only really treat the symptoms of the racial issues we face. Laws can be put in place to address equality (equal rights), diversity (desegregation), and inclusion (voting rights), but black Americans and other people of color are still treated like unwanted guests in someone else's house.

Equity denotes ownership or shared ownership. Equity requires a change in the state of mind, acknowledging that it is also my house and acknowledging my vested interest in how it is kept. Addressing equity would require all groups to recognize and acknowledge shared ownership with others.

I have often said "black people not only want equal rights in this nation, but we also want equal rights to this nation". We want our equity or shared ownership acknowledged and respected. Even more, it's an indivisible ownership. Our nation, our society, our communities, and, yes, our churches are not whole or complete without acknowledging and respecting the equity of all.