Affinity groups, sometimes called caucuses or interest groups, are a group of individuals that share a common identity or interest. While this definition is very broad, in our context we are focusing on creating spaces for groups that are underrepresented and under-voiced within AIC and the conservation community. Affinity groups provide resources, community, and paths to collective action for their members. We support allyship, but please note that affinity groups are not for allies.
Affinity groups help to provide a sense of community through inclusivity and the shared experience of each member. They can promote leadership, pathways to action, and career development. They can give individuals and underrepresented groups a private place to discuss relevant issues, effect change, and also to decompress and create a supportive community.
Groups can achieve this through a variety of means, including online message boards, social meetups (virtual or in-person), mentorship programs, resource-sharing, fundraising, leadership training, publication, activism, and organizing. At the simplest level, affinity groups provide a supportive community for their members, some of whom may otherwise feel alone, unseen, or discriminated against in their professional lives.
Affinity groups are not officially part of AIC, although they are affiliated. This means that anyone can start any group they find necessary. However, the Equity and Inclusion Committee is happy to offer assistance and support in developing any new affinity groups. Please contact EIC@culturalheritage.org with any questions, concerns, or ideas.