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Dissecting Diversity

Happy Women’s History Month Beautiful People! This year's theme for Women’s History Month is “Women Who Advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”. DEI (Diversity Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives first started becoming more popular and mainstream after the brutal murder of George Perry Floyd Jr on May 25th of 2020. When terms or initiatives like this become mainstream or more “buzzword” centric, it’s imperative in the work that you stay grounded in the true understanding - so that’s what we are going to ground ourselves in today.

Let’s start by dissecting diversity. 

Diversity Definition(s):

  1. the state of being diverse; variety.

  2. the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.

Diversity can be measured through a broad spectrum when we make space for all that humans are. (If you need a refresher on identity and intersectionality, revisit my last blog post by clicking here.) This can be a very tension-filled point for folks, myself included. When you can measure your individual circle (or business, staff, church, or other community) when it comes to diversity. And yes - this is an activity I am going to ask you to do. Before we get into the activity itself, let me first introduce you to a previous mentor of mine, Catoya Roberts. Catoya shared this exercise with me years ago when we were doing training together and I have regularly utilized this activity individually and in training others. Lastly, Catoya does consulting work, so make sure you reach out to her. 

Complete the following exercise. As a reminder - in activities like this, you only get out as much as you put in. Allow yourself to move through these prompts, and answer honestly, truthfully, and vulnerably. 

Being able to measure the diversity in your circles is such a powerful tool. It can teach you a lot about yourself and the circles you are navigating in. It can teach you about your own biases.. If you let it. Doing this activity with hundreds of people throughout the years, most folks completing this activity find that when it comes to measuring their own circles, they are surrounded by a vast majority of folks who look and sound like them. This is a sobering reminder for us, especially folks like myself who are privileged, that it takes intentionality for us to connect with folks who don’t look and sound like ourselves because when we don’t, systems of segregation take over and we navigate day-to-day actively perpetuating these cycles of oppression we are all trapped in. 

Diversity is an active word. We must be active with it. Come back soon to dissect equity and inclusion.

Reflection questions from the activity: 

  • Which column did you have the most diversity in? 

  • Which column did you have the least diversity in? 

  • What surprised you most about this activity?

  • What feelings did this activity bring up to you? 

  • How does diversity look, sound, and feel to you?

  • What do you think your biggest challenge is in building more diverse circles? 

  • How could you build authentic and meaningful relationships with those who don’t look and sound like you? 

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