As Diversity Month concludes, we all need to continue to advocate for the change needed and necessary in acknowledging and celebrating diversity in the workplace. Enspira strives to help make lasting change become a reality through educating ourselves and others, and most importantly, taking action wherever and whenever we can. These can be difficult, complicated conversations, so we've established best practices and resources to help you and your organization along the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) journey.
The first step in our journey is to be aware of the privileges we may have that others do not. Privilege is not the presence of perks and benefits but rather the absence of obstacles and barriers. Ask yourself, what harmful biases I am not aware of because I don’t have to endure them due to my race, gender, etc.? At work, are there spaces or resources I might have access to due to those privileges? If these obstacles and barriers aren’t impacting your day-to-day life, it can be difficult to remind yourself of their existence and the rippling effect they can have. Identifying your privilege is a key initial step, and from there, it’s on us as individuals to educate ourselves.
As individuals, we need to educate ourselves on DEIB and not rely on our peers from underrepresented communities to explain it for us. There are currently so many tools at our fingertips that there’s a tremendous opportunity to take it upon ourselves to learn and understand what it means to have privilege, to lack privilege, and where it shows up. Take the opportunity to read books and articles or listen to podcasts that represent different perspectives and viewpoints to come to the table with an informed view. Through understanding your own privilege, you strengthen your ability to empathize with different people and better set the stage for the discussions that drive progress towards impactful change.
While it’s on us as individuals to educate ourselves, it’s not to say that your organization can’t augment and assist with the education process. By providing resources and raising awareness, your organization can send a powerful signal to employees that it cares about these issues. There’s also an opportunity to begin framing the conversation and instill a common vernacular so there’s a common thread throughout conversations about diversity. Your organization has the opportunity to build a foundation and set the tone for action. An organization may demonstrate its allyship by making a statement, but that can feel performative without concrete action tied to it. Employees need to feel it. Organizations can show up as allies by providing spaces to learn about differences, by celebrating and highlighting diverse perspectives, and reviewing policies, programs and practices with a lens toward equity.
Without action, nothing will change. Action is not only allyship, it’s being an accomplice. By being an accomplice, you and/or your organization are taking it one step further by accepting the potential consequences of using your privilege to step up and support, through action, underrepresented communities. Actions could include speaking out as an organization publicly against injustice, mentoring and championing underrepresented individuals within your organization, and supporting—either by providing financial or time investment—underrepresented businesses and communities.
To help guide individuals and organizations through the ever-evolving DEIB journey, we’ve compiled a list of some important DEIB resources for you to raise awareness, educate, and ultimately, take action. We hope that you find these helpful and ask everyone, including ourselves, to continue putting in the work to be an accomplice so that we can make the world more equitable and inclusive for all.