Rev. Steven Shepard | Contributor
No matter what industry or institution one is speaking of, from the church to city hall, or the college campus—diversity and inclusion is vital.
The truth of the matter is that we don’t all speak the same language, have the same “culture,” or display the same manners in situations.
It is imperative that we recognize our experiences—often offered as a result of our culture—provides a vastly different perspective on life and the various facets of it.
Hiring from a diverse pool of candidates means a more qualified workforce, a workforce that is prepared to meet the ever-changing needs of all people. A diverse and inclusive workforce helps businesses avoid employee turnover costs and promotes a creative and innovative workforce/place.
As our world evolves, we must be prepared to tackle the challenges and changes that come with it. Without having all voices represented at the table, we can’t commit ourselves to inclusive excellence, let alone, create an economy that works in favor of everyone.
When we refuse to address the tough and critical conversations concerning the lack of under represented or vulnerable populations not being in executive levels of leadership or positions of authority, we fail our community, while perpetuating the notion that diverse voices don’t belong at the top of the executive ladder. When it comes to our police force (specifically the city of San Bernardino) we cannot accept any attempts at community-based policing without a diverse and inclusive police force from command staff to the officers on patrol. However, it doesn’t stop there. The systems that hold diverse voices back from being at the table or from being included in conversations related to this issue, must be eradicated through the revision of policies. Having representation alone, is simply not enough.
We should not accept institutions of higher learning not being diverse and inclusive when it comes to staff and students to bring about a more rounded learning experience and college campus life. The framework of higher education was developed during a time when Black and Brown bodies were not even thought of. To know that the residue of post slavery policies and institutional racism still plagues the hallways and campuses of institutions of higher learning is alarming. We must do better.
We should not accept, nor allow Sunday morning worship to be the most segregated hours in America. There are no sections divided by race, creed, color, or identity in heaven.
We should require our local, state and federal governments be diverse and inclusive of all of its citizens—not just a select few. So, we must do our part to elect leaders who hold true to the values of equity, diversity and inclusion.
We must become a sea of colors and cultures at all levels to bring about the very best—the best in our communities, organizations, agencies, and country.
Yes, Diversity and Inclusion Matters!