Covid-19 has disrupted life as we knew it. For the better part of 2020 most people’s lives have taken on a much slower pace. Time spent sheltering in place offered up opportunities to bake sourdough from scratch, lean into TikTok, take on the role of teacher, and simply learn something new. But for many, this time at home served as a reckoning on race and its associated power structures. The world watched as George Floyd spent 8 minutes and 46 seconds pleading for his life before being murdered by a Minneapolis police officer. This horrific tragedy sparked an awakening that our country is not void of racism despite the progress that has been made. People began evaluating their internal biases, while companies made public commitments to condemn racist behavior in the workplace. DEI managers were hired and anti-racist trainings were conducted, however as months passed and BLM and George Floyd were no longer trending it became difficult to decipher what measurable actions were taken from the recent reckoning.
The work to condemn racist and discriminatory practices takes much more time and effort than crafting a one-off social media statement. It requires incremental processes rooted at the intersection of diversity, equity and inclusion that lead to collective liberation. However, it’s essential to first understand how each of the concepts is independently defined to effectively operationalize initiatives for accurate accountability.
Diversity encompasses the visible and invisible traits that establish personal identity. Most people typically associate this term with physical attributes, but there’s no question that lived experiences and perspectives can also be categorized as diverse. But, it’s simply not enough to “check the diversity box” by bringing different types of people into an organizational climate that isn’t equipped to allow diversity to flourish.
Valuing each individual’s perspectives and treating them as respected team members is what cultivates inclusion. Diversity without inclusion creates a barrier for individuals to present their authentic selves or feel empowered to excel. The concept of inclusion establishes a sense of belonging so people feel valued, respected, accepted and encouraged to fully participate. Even though diversity and inclusion are important on their own, they alone cannot eliminate the perpetuation of unjust historical circumstances.
Practices and policies rooted in equity, is what ensures systemic injustices are addressed and corrected. This allows everyone access to the same opportunities, in turn making holistic success attainable. When equitable systems are built and promote the inclusion of diverse individuals, mutual trust is established and a sense of belonging allows everyone the chance to thrive.
When diversity, equity and inclusion work in unison a human-centered approach is established that attracts and retains a broad range of talent who feel appreciated and willing to help drive organizational success. When you’re ready to move beyond social media statements and truly shake up the status quo, Ethos Equity can help! Contact us today to book your initial consultation.