Affinity Groups

Affinity groups are for individuals who share a similar identity and can speak to the experience of being a member of the group from the “I” perspective. Formal identity-based student affinity groups supported by the Oregon Episcopal School Office of Equity & Inclusion and are usually based on a historically marginalized identity. Some examples include gender/gender expression, race, religion, and sexuality. OES affinity groups support members of our community whose identities have been underrepresented or minoritized to provide a space for renewal, dialogue, reflection, and action.

When people are underrepresented in an environment they can experience less of a sense of belonging. Although members of the group may share a common identity, such as gender or race, it does not mean that everyone in that group shares the same experience. Rather, participants recognize that their identity has an effect on the way they move through the world.  Affinity groups can be a strategic tool to support people from underrepresented groups and help them to thrive.

Importance of Affinity Groups

Affinity groups are created to support identity development, cultivate leadership, and build community. These are places where students and adults can develop a better understanding of how their own identity shapes their experiences. By becoming firmly rooted in their own identity, community members are in a much better position to understand other people’s experiences.

Affinity Group Meetings

During opt-in meetings, students and adults gather to to share personal experience, learn about their culture, reflect on their own identity development, and to support each other in addressing issues that arise for members of their self-identified community.  Affinity groups are flexible and based in the intent to gather to offer mutual support and support all participants being heard.

Allyship & Alliance Groups

Allyship or alliance groups are groups that are open to people that have similar identities as well as allies (those that would like to act to support those who have an identity they do not share).