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Indigenous Peoples Day and Finding My Voice

Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution

I want to take a moment to commemorate Indigenous Peoples' Day. In addition to a growing national recognition, this day for me is personal.

At 19 years old I was a student leader on my campus. As part of the student government, my role was specifically focused on multicultural student programming and collective action. Along with the President and VP of the student government (who are both staunch allies to this day), we wrote a resolution that Colorado State University recognize, rather than Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples. We, of course, enlisted the wisdom of student, staff, and faculty leaders affiliated with what is now the Native American Cultural Center.

I remember this so vividly:

In the research and writing of the resolution, we also socialized the idea with a number of the University senators who would actually be voting on it. OMG, we got no love. There was not a glimmer of hope in sight.

I  met with students, staff, and...

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What's Your Change Agenda?

 

The time is here! EVERYONE is ready to make progress on equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism. Different than in the past, leaders are ready to move beyond a one-off training or charge a diversity committee with doing the heavy lifting alone. Most of what we’re hearing are requests for 1) EDIAR Strategy, 2) strategic planning that integrates EDIAR throughout the organization’s core business operations, and 3) enterprise-wide competence development for leaders and managers on what EDIAR means for them, their practices, and their accountability for advancing the organization’s values and goals.  

For those who are interested in strategy, we often work with clients on the importance of not jumping too quickly into implementation. A lot of well-intended leaders and managers want to quickly solve problems that have either been pervasive or are the focus of recent attention. Most tempting are those nagging itches that we have never been able to...

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Are You Using Outdated Words To Describe People and Groups?

Have you ever been worried you're using outdated words to describe people and groups? Are you concerned that it may impact your client and professional relationships? Perhaps even offend someone?

Language sends a strong message to our colleagues, especially given the current level of public calling out of people for using words that are perceived as offensive or dated.

Inclusive managers are encouraged not to make assumptions about language preferences across groups, even within your group. 

What is inclusive language? Inclusive language is communication that avoids using words, expressions or assumptions that exclude people across gender, language, culture, religion, race, ability, family structure, marital status, sexuality, origin, class and/or organizational classification.

Why do we use inclusive language? 

Being intentional with our words conveys a genuine effort to truly see and honor people in a way that is most appropriate for them. It is an attempt to address the...

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To my White Friends, Please End Racism

diversity leadership Aug 30, 2017

“The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference”

-Elie Wiesel, writer, professor, political activist, Holocaust survivor

I often tell people, “If you want to influence people to do something for you, you have to start by having a clear ask.” Well, I want white people to stand up, en masse, and end racism. I know it’s a bit of audacious of me, but hell, being called audacious is the least of my concerns right now.

I, as a black woman, have been working my tail off for years to end racism and every other form of oppression. I won’t stop doing my work, but let’s keep it real. I can’t end racism.

I need white people, people with white privilege, to exercise that privilege—in the service of ending racism. Now is the time to stand up, take a deep breath, anchor to your values, push through the fear, and find the courage to dismantle the system of racism that benefits you and greatly oppresses the rest of us.

So, what is race?

...

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