Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Buzz words or Core Values
By: Anthony Corona
As June is Pride Month and the world seems to be in such turmoil I find myself pondering the meaning of these 3 powerful words. The call-to-action they evoke is often clouded or appropriated to serve specific messaging but is walking the walk behind the talk actually happening?
In researching for various Pride Month programming I was stunned by how little I actually knew of LGBTQ history I knew. Oh, Stonewall and the Gay Liberation movements I know all about but there have been Thousands of Brave folks fighting both quietly and with loud voices for almost 100 years. So many stories of personal sacrifice, blatant and horrific discrimination and death. How much of the history making and changing stories ever make it into the books, almost none.
There has been a pattern of white-washing our history and so many communities are left having to search hard for the truths and accounts. This led me to think about the various reasons for elevating Diversity, Equity and inclusion as a movement. It forced me to examine where in my own advocating experience they are used more as Buzz words than real action. The fact is I found the latter so much closer to home than I would like to admit.
In concept the words are great and powerful but as they are used over and over without much action and change behind them aren’t they losing that power? How much do they really mean if the actions barely whisper after loudly speaking the words? I take narrative license with the adage because it exemplifies the state I find both of my primary communities right now.
Lets slide down the rabbit hole even further a bit. Where does change actually happen? Is it from the ground up or is it from leadership down? It has to be both! There has to be buy in from both sides. There has to be more than just powerful words from leadership to show sincerity behind the buzz-word filled messaging to inspire participation from the ground up. On the other side of the coin those complaining need to be ready when the call-to-action leads to said action. Its so easy to respond to communications and make social media postings but if real change is wanted then actual participation beyond the grumblings is needed.
Inclusion isn’t just making a place at the table for more diversity. Equity isn’t thinking that having a few diversely represented communities celebrated at the table is most of the work. In fact its a small start and if ended there an actual miserable failure. The 3 words mean so much more in practice. Its respecting differing ideas, ideals and schools of thought. It’s being willing to not only converse at the table but to stand behind and for each other all the times it is needed. Its taking the concepts inspired by linking the 3 words into actions that effect real change. Its being willing to be uncomfortable for the greater comfort of us all.
In conclusion I find myself on another thought lane. Diversity, equity and inclusion is actually HUMANITY! It’s standing for and practicing what’s right. HUMANITY. Its Knowing every single one of us is different but our beautiful differences make up the tapestry that is, (drumroll please) HUMANITY. It means recognizing and respecting each others differences while never ever for a moment forgetting the most important thing that links us all…. HUMANITY!