Beyond Diversity Fatigue
Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Catalyst Awards Conference at the Hilton Hotel in New York City. This event brought together leaders and change-makers from various industries to discuss the importance of creating more inclusive and diverse workplaces.
During the conference, I indirectly discovered the work of diversity and inclusion expert Vernā Myers. Vernā emphasizes the significance of recognizing and overcoming our biases, no matter how small or subtle they may be. She stresses the need for a more inclusive world where everyone is valued and respected for who they are, irrespective of their background.
Vernā also highlights the concept of "diversity fatigue," which she states can be overwhelming in a society that is constantly focusing on diversity and inclusion. However, she also points out that it is crucial to move beyond merely accepting differences and instead celebrate diversity in all its forms. She underscores the importance of having difficult conversations about race and identity in safe spaces where everyone is free to share their thoughts and experiences.
At the heart of all of this is the foundation for empathy and understanding. Some of the ways I’ve found that this can be achieved is through my own education about different cultures and perspectives and by listening and learning in order to become a better ally. These included either hosting events or celebrating diversity through various cultural experiences in my many travels abroad.
As someone who grew up in a small suburb in upstate New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s as a child of immigrant Asian Indian parents, I could relate to the constant need to fit in, while holding back on expressing my own cultural differences. One of Vernā's famous tagline goes, "Diversity is being asked to the party, Inclusion is being asked to dance."
In this vein, I believe it's essential to continue exploring and working together to create a more inclusive and equitable world where everyone's voice and presence is valued and understood.
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