Last week I came across an article that really stuck with me. Although it pertains to the education system, the questions it yields can be applied to organizations from all sectors. It’s actually quite a familiar story. Think H&M’s monkey shirt or Gucci’s blackface balaclava. It’s the issue of egregious displays of anti-Black racism by organizations that should have the resources to know better.
I remember a time, not too long ago, when I felt I didn't belong.
If I want to be totally honest with myself, it wasn't for me to belong. I was helping support a youth-led initiative while sitting firmly outside the appropriate age range to be referred to as a youth. I was an ally. And though I felt excluded at the end of the day, what really hurt was the sense that the young people who worked so hard to build a community initiative to address community issues, were placed on the margins of their own community.
There are few absolutes when itcomes to diversity and inclusion. Many of the most interesting projects I have worked on involve digging deep and going down the proverbial rabbit hole. Instead of having clear cut right and wrong answers (which one usually sees at a theoretical level), D&I implementation reveals a certain complexity that underlies the practice.
By now, many organizations – for profit, non-profit and public – understand the business case for diversity, equity and inclusion. Diverse organizations have the potential to be more skilled and innovative, while those that are more inclusive can harness those benefits while ensuring that workplaces are safe spaces, where people feel they belong and are valued.
I love to travel. As professionals, we often frame travel around self-care. As important as wellness is, I have always felt that the opportunity to see the world -- the different ways in which people live, and the ways in which they make sense of their environment – allows us to be expansive in our perspective, and bring new and fresh ideas to our lives and our work.