As we move toward Election Day, the racial tension and bitter rhetoric is building to a fever pitch. It seems as though spouting stereotypic and bias notions and taking racist actions, then denying the obvious racism displayed, is becoming more commonplace than at any time since the Jim Crow era.
Dr. Billy Vaughn of Diversity Training University International (DTUI), coined a phrase more than a decade ago to explain our obligation of bringing light to those who tend to live in the dark around diversity issues. He refers to those who are determined to foster unity as “diversity pioneers.”
According to Vaughn, diversity pioneers take nine actions that make them effective in bringing about unity in the family, the workplace, and the community. To foster inclusion in the circles you move in…
- Have the relentless courage to speak up about diversity matters when everyone else is ignoring the issues.
- Express a vision about how the organization, community, neighborhood, or family can be better through enhanced inclusion.
- Get people to listen to them even if they feel uncomfortable. Be firm but gentle in encouraging them to hear the facts.
- Volunteer to do the diversity work that others often avoid.
- Don't blame others but speak about how change can make everyone's life better.
- Know that your efforts serve others rather than you.
- Don’t expect to receive external rewards for your contributions.
- Maintain a commitment even during those times when you feel lonely from being a single voice.
- Have the ability to pat yourself on the back in order to keep motivated and committed.
Be a diversity pioneer. Never lose sight of your goal to bring people together and overcome the divisive actions taken by a few to disrupt the many.