By Tedi Parsons
2020 has surely been a year of total disruption, from the pandemic, to a tumultuous election to over 190 people of color killed by the police to the thousands of protests for equality and inclusion taking place around the world. No matter who you are, the faith you practice or your political affiliation, the one thing we know for sure is that full inclusion requires ALL of us at the table.
The time for change is NOW! This requires each of us to step-up and take personal responsibility. For each of us to admit and accept our own contributions to racism (whether intentional or not). For each of us to step outside of our own culture of advantage and admit that white privilege exists. For each of us to identify and remove our biases. For each of us to stop proclaiming we are antiracist, but instead take action steps and commit to helping dismantle the systems of institutional and structural racism that exist in the world.
Words are not enough! Equality and Inclusion requires a commitment from each of us. A true commitment to not be silent when acts of oppression and racism take place. A true commitment to learning about and understanding the 400-year history of racism in the U.S. and its impact on people of color. A true commitment to breaking down the barricades to inclusion, ensuring everyone starts at the same place and has full access.
We can start our personal commitment to equity and inclusion by initiating conversations with family, friends, our boss and coworkers and at our place of worship. Let’s be courageous enough to tackle these tough discussions, even when it makes us uncomfortable.
Go into the conversation with an open-mind and accepting everyone where they are on their journey, being sure to check and remove our biases and microaggressions. Make a strong commitment to leaving the conversation in a good place and better informed. Make it your mission to become a life-long diversity advocate, learner and educator, using your voice as a catalyst for positive change. One of the Love Project Principles states: “Be the change you want to see happen, instead of trying to change everyone else.” is a great way to begin our own journey of change, acceptance and empowerment.
Together, we can create positive and lasting change in the world, but this can only happen if each of us truly commits to becoming the best version of ourselves. Please join the Michigan Diversity Education Center (MiDEC) on its mission to serve as global change agents, one-voice-at-a-time.
Tedi Parsons serves as the President & CEO of the Michigan Diversity Education Center (MiDEC), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit located in Lansing, MI who is committed to serving as global change-agents by providing quality diversity education and training, empowering community engagement, engaging in meaningful and impactful dialogue and serving as good stewards to dismantle the systems of inequities, privilege, and injustice for the underrepresented and underserved. MiDEC proudly serves the Capital Region (Clinton, Eaton & Ingham counties). Learn more about MiDEC at www.mi-dec.org.