By Christine E. Staple Ebanks
Advocate, Author, founder of the Nathan Ebanks Foundation
“the mindful practice of including and accommodating people who have traditionally been excluded because of their disability, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.”
Why is “inclusion” so important, especially now?
We have more in common than we think. A friend of mine always reminds me that as human beings, “we are one, sharing one human experience.” She explains that while we are diverse in age, national origin, socioeconomic status, education, and physical appearance, we share one human experience.
We breathe to live. We hurt, cry, and experience happiness, sadness, and the myriad of emotions we share as human beings inhabiting the planet. I am sure we can each recall a time(s) when we felt excluded, left out, not understood, or like we didn’t belong. This inherent need to belong, connect and have our voices heard is what makes the act of inclusion so important, especially at this time.
Our world is becoming increasingly diverse. Research informs us that this current “post-Millennial” generation who are becoming adults is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in history (Mondal, 2020). To live peacefully and in safety, for us to work together, play together and build our communities and nations, we need to make room for everyone. Inclusion and belonging are what make diversity work. (Eileen Hoenigman Meyer, 2019).
The opposite of inclusion is exclusion and omission. When we fail to be inclusive, we practice to exclude, ostracize, discriminate and are intolerant to differences. Hate and violence are byproducts of this way of being. This negatively impacts all of our society, home, school, work, and social spaces. Just take a look at what’s happening today. The world has become a very intolerable place to live, do business and raise families.
Inclusion is a mindset. It requires us to take action on a personal, corporate, and national level. When we are inclusive, we are participating in creating environments in which any individual or group can feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to participate fully. An inclusive climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. (Independentsector.org)
When we include, “We become not a melting pot, but a beautiful mosaic. Different People. Different beliefs. Different yearnings. Different hopes. Different dreams“. – Jimmy Carte
The everyday moments of living provide opportunities for us to practice inclusion.
Here is one thing you can do to get started. Over the course of the next few weeks, be mindful of inclusion. In the next week, observe and pay attention to how and when you may be excluding others. Make a physical note of how it occurs. Is it based on their religion, their race, their appearance, their gender, their sexual orientation, their class background? How are you practicing exclusion without even realizing that you are?
Then join our conversation at the upcoming Town Hall Meeting on April 29, 2021, where we will have a deeper discussion on what small steps you can take to impact inclusivity.
Mead, J., & Paige, M. (2019). Building a Wall around the Schoolhouse? Education and Immigration in the Trump Age. Journal of Law and Education, 48(4), 449.
About Inclusion — NJCIE. https://www.njcie.org/inclusion/
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: The Impact on Human …. https://adurolife.com/blog/human-performance-coaching/diversity-equity-inclusion-the-impact-on-human-flourishing/
Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter — Independent …. https://independentsector.org/resource/why-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-matter/
Everyone has the right to be safe and to #LiveFearFree.. https://www.facebook.com/ButetownLabour/videos/758787731509309/
HL7 International Organizational Statement on Diversity …. http://www.hl7.org/documentcenter/public/legal/HL7-Statement-on-Diversity-Equity-and-Inclusion.pdf
Mondal, Somen. 2020. Why is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Important to Organizational Success? Ideal.com. Retrieved 03/28/2021
About Inclusion. njcie.org/inclusion. Retrieved 03/28/2021
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. khanacademy.org Retrieved 03/28/2021
Wilkins, Dan. The Need for Inclusive Communities. https://www.abilitycenter.org/essays/need-inclusive-communities/