Diversity and Inclusion. We hear this partnership of words all the time as something we should strive for, we hear it in the media with #Oscarssowhite and within our organizations, particularly when it comes to hiring processes. But what does this actually mean?
Recently on an episode of the Daily Show, actor Riz Ahmed argued that we as a society should stop using the word Diversity and instead use Representation. In doing so, we can thoughtfully address the goal of diversity in our practice. I think we should consider both diversity and representation when we look at the individuals we bring in to work with, lift, and collaborate alongside. Diversity allows for the representation of other life experiences, perspectives, and understanding and gives this representation an important seat at the table. Inclusion is just that, it is the act of including those experiences, perspectives and understandings and allowing them to have a voice and to be seen and valued.
Ok, perfect! That’s easy. I’ll just ask the guy who doesn’t like the same TV shows as me to join our board and that will cover off our diversity and inclusion mandate. Phew! Yeah, not quite. Diversity and Inclusion calls for so much more. It’s a journey and it will take work and, in some cases, a shift in thinking. It’s not about looking at the gaps within your organization or board but rather it’s giving space and allowing those marginalized voices to speak loudly and be heard. It’s giving previously snuffed experiences and perspectives to come in a make their impact and be welcomed while doing so.
So now what? The first thing to do is to determine where you are in your Diversity and Inclusion journey. Ask yourself the hard questions and truly assess how ready you are to move onto next steps. Do you understand your own privilege? What about your biases? Also, what’s your understanding on equity and equality? Think hard on these questions and be honest. The journey will be so much more meaningful if you start from a truly honest place. And remember, you can make mistakes and ask silly questions. It’s all in the learning.
Nav brings her positive energy and a keen eye for detail to her role as Communications & Events Manager. She enjoys putting the awesomeness of Vantage Point on paper and looks forward to humble-bragging all about our upcoming projects. Nav completed an Associate of Arts in Creative Writing at...