Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ. While diversity is most often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender, the reality is that diversity includes age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance.
Equity means ensuring that all people can achieve the same outcomes regardless of race/ethnicity, sex physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, immigrant status, veteran status, language and/or socio-economic status.
In order for equity to be realized, justice and fairness must be evident in policies, procedures, programs and in the distribution of resources. Barriers that limit or prevent the full participation of any resident must be identified and eliminated. Equity is the key to building and maintaining diversity.
Empowerment is creating environments in which all residents feel welcome, respected, and valued. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences. When such an environment exists people are more likely to feel empowered to participate as decision makers in their local communities.