Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) needs lifelong allies and alliances.
The media courted us with images and stories of social injustice last year, and we as allies said a collective and passionate “I do.” We stood up to take on oppressive systems and make our workplaces and our society inclusive and equitable.
Time has passed, and we’ve experienced some highs and lows. We are facing some realities. It’s what we do outside of the view of the camera, it’s what we do after the protest is over, and it’s what we do day to day to bake our corporate statements into our corporate culture that determine the destinations on our D&I journey. Saying “I do” was an easy beginning, the daily work is layered, complex, and grinding. There is no miracle cure on the horizon. Diversity and inclusion is a difficult and heavy lift!
Inquiring Minds want to know. Minorities and traditionally excluded groups, want to know if we are in it for the long haul. They have long suffered exclusion, and although they’ve made progress, the long term commitment of allies is an issue.
Allies have the option of opting out when circumstances become too challenging, uncomfortable, and inconvenient for their liking. Think of Missy betrayal of Kizzy in Alex Haley’s “Roots”. Fair-weathered alliances and allies pose a risk to the success of D&I .
The key to long term commitment is to have a strong purpose, a “Powerful Why.” A “Powerful Why” endures and survives challenges. Allies must get clear on our “Why” —why we believe in inclusion and ensure the belief is strong enough to sustain us on this journey. Diversity and Inclusion needs committed allies.
Like marriage, D&I fairs better when there is a long term commitment defined more by day to day routine than Hallmark moments. Allies, our hearts must be in it and our hands and feet must be about the work through the good times and bad for our life times. Let’s be lifelong allies and build lifelong alliances for diversity and inclusion.
P.S.: As an African American woman, my learned and lived experiences and my heart confirm that ALL women, men, and children are endowed with inalienable rights, and every woman, man, and child has a responsibility to ensure each other those protections and privileges of those rights. Therefore, I, as an African American woman and an ally for other diverse identities, must work for inclusion wherever I am with whatever resources I have during my lifetime.
Recommended Resources: The Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership
Roots is available on HBO and the 2016 Root Reboot is available on other sources. Kerra Bolton’s How to Help Your Black Friends Survive Watching the Roots Reboot is helpful aid. https://movietime.guru/how-to-help-your-black-friends-survive-watching-the-roots-reboot-24096ee8a2f3