The Importance of Language in Park and Recreation Work
In October 2021, NRPA released its Equity Language Guide — a glossary of terms to help park and recreation professionals develop common language around diversity, equity and inclusion. During this talk, NRPA staff will review why the language matters, how the words we use impact the communities we serve, and why shared and inclusive language is imperative in parks and recreation.
Shalini Mirpuri (she/her)
Senior Education Manager - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
National Recreation and Parks Association
Shalini is the Senior Manager of Education - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for NRPA. She is a passionate Educator who is focused on melding her love for parks with her commitment to social equity. Shalini believes that innovative education and inviting dialogue can build a shared investment in ensuring access to parks for everyone. She has been working on issues of equity for over 10 years in a variety of settings, including higher ed, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. She is particularly passionate about the intersection of gender-based violence and racial equality. Shalini holds a Masters in Education and an Education Specialist degree in Counseling from the University of Florida.
Autumn Saxton-Ross, PhD (she/her/hers)
Vice President of Education and Chief Equity Officer
National Recreation and Park Association
Autumn Saxton-Ross, PhD, developed a love of the outdoors first through her grandmother’s yard and then exploring city parks with her family in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. Now a resident of Washington DC and mom of two, she is the VP for Education & Chief Equity Officer at the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).
She started her career as an elementary school Health and PE teacher in DC Public Schools and after receiving graduate degrees in Health Education and Sociology, has worked in various positions that placed her at the intersections of health, equity and the outdoors. Most recently, as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director and Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Lead for NatureBridge, and prior to that she held positions as the Program Director for Place-based Initiatives at the National Collaborative for Health Equity, Program Specialist at DC Department of Health and (Health) Recreation Specialist at both Montgomery County and DC Departments of Recreation.
Autumn is a connector- actively seeking out ways to build bridges between seemingly disparate people, opportunities and ideas. And if you really want to see a sparkle in her eye, start a conversation on all things Marvel, Octavia Butler or Star Trek: The Next Generation.