Diversity, equality, and inclusion are important goals for any community or organization. Promoting these ideals can be a big task, however. Wherever possible, use local resources and social media to foster a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable space for all. At schools, look for clubs and organizations that can host events and speakers. In the workplace, consider training workshops, open dialogues, and more inclusive hiring practices. By enforcing these policies, you can create a safe, friendly community.
EditCreating Friendly Communities
- Use inclusive language to act as a model for other people. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to model good use of inclusive language for others. Incorporate these terms into your daily conversation so that others will use them as well.
- People first language emphasizes that the subject is a person who is not defined by their lifestyle, disability, or other characteristics. Instead of saying a “disabled person”, for example, say “a person with a disability.”
- Talk in first person about your experiences and feelings. Use “I” statements like “I always feel” or “When I experience something, it makes me think” instead of “you always do this” or “you know how it is.”
- Respect other people’s chosen pronouns, names, or identities. Don’t try to correct them or define their experience for them.
- Start a blog or social media account for awareness. A blog on a website like Wordpress, Blogger, or Tumblr can help you raise awareness for issues you care about. If you don’t have time to publish a blog, share articles, opinions, and thoughts through Facebook or Twitter.
- Use hashtags and key words that help connect your thoughts to the wider discussion. For example, you might use hashtags like #equalpay, #achievementgap, and #whyIstayed.
- Organize cultural events to expose people to different lifestyles. Fairs, festivals, and other public events can help your community learn about other cultures, lifestyles, and beliefs. Some great ideas include:
- International food festival
- International film screenings
- Pride parade
- Lectures and speeches from civil rights leaders
- Ceremonies and celebrations for different religious traditions
- Documentary screenings on important social issues
- Fundraisers for non-profits supporting diversity, equality, and inclusion initiatives
- Host a town hall where all citizens can voice their issues. Part of inclusivity and equality is making sure that everyone’s voice is heard. Ask your town council or government to host an open town hall for the community. Choose a specific issue, such as lack of healthcare, or leave the topic open.
- Invite community members to sign up for speaking slots at the beginning of the event. Give each person a certain amount of time to make sure that every person has a chance to be heard.
- Try to have government figures and policy makers at the event. You might invite the mayor, town council members, school board members, or other decision makers.
- If your town government will not host an open town hall, hold your own. Book a room in a local library, community center, or school to host the event.
- Highlight specific issues in your local community. Instead of taking on all social issues at once, choose 1 local issue that you can fight to change. Advertise your campaign through social media, flyers, and public events. Get others involved to solve this issue in your own town or community.
- For example, you might notice that there are no ramps or elevators in public buildings for people who may have mobility issues. Start a campaign to install accessible entrances in these buildings.
- You might run a public fundraiser to donate books or clothing for children in need. You can also ask volunteers to offer free tutoring for these children.
- In areas with unequal access to healthcare, ask local doctors if they would be willing to offer their services for free for people with no health insurance.
EditEncouraging Inclusion at a School or University
- Volunteer at your school or university’s office of diversity and inclusion. This office can keep you up to date on events on campus. They can also present unique opportunities for getting involved with diversity, equality, and inclusion campaigns on your campus.
- You can also reach out to a campus women’s center, LGBTQ center, student accessibility services, campus health, or counseling and psychological services.
- Ask the office if you can help volunteer at an event or help out in the office. Some offices may even have work study gigs for students.
- Join a social justice club. These organizations host events, invite speakers, and campaign for specific social issues. Some types of social justice clubs include multicultural associations, LGBTQ support networks, and volunteer groups.
- If there is not already a social justice club at your school or university, why not start your own? Talk to your administration or your office of student activities to learn what you need to do.
- Host events that create awareness. To bring awareness to the wider campus community, set up some free events for students. Involve other students, professors, and community members to create an inclusive space. Free food can entice other students to come. Some great event ideas include:
- Cultural fair: celebrate holidays from different religions, hold a food festival with cuisine around the world, or showcase various forms of dance.
- Gender neutral writing workshop: teach students how to write in gender neutral ways and how to eliminate gender biases in writing.
- Open mic nights: invite students from a wide range of backgrounds to tell stories, sing songs, or recite poetry about their unique experiences.
- Public lectures: ask scholars, civil rights leaders, and community leaders to talk about how others can help promote this cause.
- Networking events for marginalized groups: ask business leaders and professors to meet with students. Students can workshop their resumes or find jobs through this network.
- Encourage friends to take sensitivity training. Your university may offer various extracurricular training programs to teach allies how to help certain groups adjust and navigate academic life. Some programs that may be available at your university include:
- HAVEN Training for helping people who have experienced sexual assault
- Safe Zone Training for supporting LGBT students
- Green Zone Training to help military veterans transition into academic life.
- Disability awareness training to provide helpful assistance and access for students with disabilities.
- Create safe spaces on your campus. A safe space allows students to discuss their experiences without judgment or criticism. You can create a general safe space for students or make specific spaces for students struggling with their sexuality, sexual harassment, racism, or mental health issues.
- Campus safe spaces can usually be found in the office of diversity and inclusion, women’s centers, counseling offices, and other inclusive administrative offices.
- Create your own safe space by booking a room through your campus administration or department. Hold an open invitation for students facing specific challenges to talk about their experiences.
- Remind allies that the safe space is a place for others to express their challenges. They may not be looking for advice or sympathy. Ask allies to listen, not to talk.
EditPromoting an Equitable and Diverse Workplace
- Explain the importance of diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace. Some people may resist new policies for inclusion or diversity in the workplace. When raising awareness of this issue, remind employees and employers of the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace.
- Benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace include higher productivity, higher employee satisfaction, and happier customers.
- You might say, "I think it is important to have more diversity in our office. It's been shown that diverse workplaces are more efficient, and their employees are happier."
- Institute policies regarding equal access and discrimination. A set of rules regarding discrimination and equality are important to make sure that everyone knows how they are expected to act. Talk to your boss, human resources (HR), or coworkers about instituting new inclusive policies.
- Establish a no discrimination policy in the workplace. Remind employees that no one can be discriminated against for their race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Post this policy in a public place, such as a break room or near the printers.
- Make sure that all employees know how to report discrimination in the workplace. Employees who violate the policy may require sensitivity training or disciplinary action.
- If your company provides health insurance, make sure that it includes policies for a wide range of conditions. Inclusive policies are ones that offer birth control, STD testing, and a wide range of medical conditions.
- Encourage inclusive hiring practices. Diversity and inclusion begins during the hiring process. Encouraging a more diverse pool of applicants will make your workplace a more inclusive place. Some ways you create an inclusive hiring process include:
- Write job advertisements with broad qualifications to allow a more diverse set of applicants.
- Avoid gendered language in your job advertisement. Instead of using “he” or “she,” say “the applicant” or “they.”
- Advertise your diversity and inclusion policies, including any non-discrimination rules, in your job advertisement. Emphasize that you do not discriminate based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or disability.
- Make sure that the interviewers represent a diverse sample from your workplace. Ask broad, open-ended questions. Avoid questions about the applicant’s personal life, such as their religion, marital or relationship status, or children.
- Ask HR to give a cultural sensitivity training workshop. For your next seminar, training session, or networking event, why not cover inclusion and diversity? These workshops can focus on a variety of issues, such as sexual harassment, cultural diversity, mental health, or equal access.
- Your HR department can run this themselves by using exercises, courses, and pamphlets found on the internet. They can also hire an outside consultation firm to run the session for them.
- If your business is small or doesn’t have an HR department, talk to your boss. Emphasize how cultural training can strengthen your organization as a whole.
EditSources and Citations
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