DIVERSITY INCLUSION & BELONGING
Where does it start?
Diversity, Inclusion and belonging (DIB) are most certainly buzz words and as lots of data tells us having a focus on this in business has many benefits https://www.wonolo.com/blog/6-benefits-of-having-a-diverse-workforce/. Many companies are working diligently and feverishly to ensure they are incorporating DIB in their values and throughout the organization in hiring, programs and metrics. A changing world and global economy require this and provide a competitive advantage. While the corporate benefits are easy to understand the societal benefits are even more weighty. Corporate Social responsibility can and does play a big part in supporting and ensuring DIB success but can influencing and educating our youth be the real secret to gaining true diversity?
Should Curriculum Include Religion, Ethnicity, Culture and Diversity?
Unconscious bias starts at a very early age and part of the issue with improving acceptance of diversity is a lack of understanding of inherent and acquired differences. This needs to be socialized and taught at a very early age to produce the benefits for society. When we are born, we are open to anything and everything, however, influence on our biases quickly creeps in based on our environment and experiences. By age 25 the brain is fully developed and we have created a belief system. As the years pass, we find it more and more exigent to change therefore making inclusion and belonging more of a challenge. Similar to mandatory classes like English, French and History, should we be having a curriculum that includes not only religions but ethnicity, culture and diversity? Would this help foster an understanding of others and promote a sense of belonging?
Develop Formalized Strategies That Support Kids
Developing formalized strategies that support kids throughout their journey into adulthood is critical. So many children have been exposed to traumatic events in their young life that tear at the fabric of their being and this alters their willingness to expose their authentic, imperfect self. Poor self-esteem, insecurity, isolation and a lack of understanding divides children and is at the heart of the challenge to improve diversity and belonging. So, what can we do to make a difference?
Jason Simon, Former NHL Hockey Player Is Making a Difference
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Jason Simon, a former NHL hockey player and member of the Aamjiwnaang Community. Jason talked to me about his journey and struggles as a child growing up and is now working with kids across the US and Canada sharing his personal story of challenges and successes. Jason has seen the power of discrimination himself and has witnessed the tragic impact of drugs and isolation with the recent death of his 24-year-old son Jordan in 2019. His message is simple: stay in school, work hard, set goals and be positive.
Jason is doing his part to motivate kids through his message and we as parents and teachers can continue to move this discussion forward and help to build the next generation of leaders and diverse communities and corporations.
“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million”
– Walt Streightiff