April 21, 2021

Yesterday, April 21st, the Epstein Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) group held a lunchtime Zoom seminar on combating religious bias, a form of discrimination that treats a person or group differently based upon their spiritual beliefs.

DE&I committee members Jenny Kuether, Samantha Schneider and Jonathan Zambrano hosted the event, which featured videos on topics like: looking beyond unconscious religious bias by acknowledging its existence to ensure that this form of bias does not determine someone’s existence; how the five major religions (Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam) have spread across the globe since 3000 BC; as well as on Social Identity Theory, in which an “us versus them” view on religion can create stereotypes about immigrants.

In addition to the videos shown, a presentation was given on examples of religious bias, which stems from Xenophobia and misconceptions that included:

- The lack of understanding and/or tolerance for specific celebrations and or holidays

- The fear of or confusion about certain types of food or meals

- And jokes/assumptions that permeate our society and create stereotypical views

Lastly, three Epsteiners served as panelists for a discussion on their personal experiences with religion. Those panelists were:

- Kristin Callahan – Greek Orthodox

- Sarah Bush – Reformed Jewish

- Laura Petrocci – Raised Catholic/Non-practicing now

Kristin, Sarah and Laura answered a series of questions on a variety of topics including:

- Favorite holiday and how do you celebrate?

- Favorite values you got from your religion

- What stereotypes do you wish would stop?

This seminar is part of Epstein’s ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative, one that is centered on four main topics: education, awareness, inclusion and diversity. Each aims to:

- Educate our employees on the values of diversity and inclusion, and demonstrate how having a diverse and inclusive workforce can help enhance our world

- Improve the overall awareness of behavior and biases

- Promote empathy by embracing our unique character traits and nurture that communal sense of belonging, acceptance and engagement

- Assemble a workforce that is comprised of people with different backgrounds, beliefs and experiences