I went for a walk early this morning. The sun was just coming up and the roosters were crowing all around the neighborhood. I could hear the wind rustling in the trees and when I looked up at the sky I saw two sets of clouds: darker ones lower in the sky and lighter ones higher in the sky catching the sunlight.
When I stopped walking and stood still for a moment and looked up, I noticed the darker clouds were moving quickly and the lighter ones higher up didn’t seem to be moving at all. But when I looked closer I noticed that they seemed to be moving in the opposite direction.
What is this have to do with diversity and inclusion work you’re wondering?
Resistance and Push Back
Sometimes the dark clouds come quickly when we start this work; resistance, fear, push back, difficult conversations – all of these seem to be pushing against our efforts to create equity, more inclusion, and greater diversity. But if you look beyond the immediate, change is also happening longer-term; we’re opening hearts, we’re listening and using that new information and awareness as we move forward, we’re changing the way we look at things, changing what we do and how we do it. This is the long game of D&I (or EDI*, or DIBs*.
The Long Game
How do we do this? Ongoing education is just one small part – policies need to reflect our commitment and new awareness, ongoing conversations and dialogue, acknowledging when things happen in the world, your community and in your office and talking about these, recognizing their impact and providing support. Genuinely wanting to know what people’s experiences are and continually creating opportunities to learn about each other, be responsive, and create a workplace where people feel a sense of belonging and that they are part of a community.
Just like the higher clouds, this is a slower process and one that takes time.
Because inclusion is something we create over time, together.
*EDI= Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
**DIBs = Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging