10 Ways to Engage:
Get to know more people (especially those from cultures who are experiencing injustices or inequities). Fear is often the root of bigotry and one of the best antidotes for erasing fear is knowledge and familiarity. Reach out to that co-worker whom you call a friend, but don't know where they were born, how many siblings they have or their favorite hobby. Now is the time to broaden your circle and expand your connection.
Reach out and conduct a wellness check on a friend or colleague. Whether its COVID-19 related or the recent outcries of injustice across the nation, make time to reach out and connect with someone from a culture or community different than yours who is being impacted by the crisis. If it takes you more than 15 seconds to think of someone to call, see tip #1. For instance, call a friend or colleague if they had a death in the family or lost a job, to offer our concerns and show support. Unprecedented incidents such as these take a toll on the psyche of so many people, especially those closely impacted by it.
Understand the relativity of privilege. There are many types privilege, like male privilege, able-bodied privilege, cisgender privilege and white privilege. Often times, we fail to acknowledge our privilege because we limit the understanding of privilege to own personal struggles or experiences and then contextualize it to mean a person who has had things go "easy" for them. However, privilege is a part of reality that helps some while it impedes others' experiences. Remember your discomfort over confronting your privilege is a privilege in itself. So confront your privileges and to listen thoughtfully to the personal struggles of others. Stand in solidarity with those who are suffering from the effects of this pandemic and various injustices.
Participate in transformative efforts and educate yourself. How? The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) will be hosting a series of conversations, community talks, healing forums and engagement opportunities. The RISE Summer Institute is a great way to learn and engage while coming up with actionable items to implement, whether you are faculty or staff. Participating in unconscious bias training as well as cultural competence institutes can assist you in meeting new people and provide an opportunity to see issues from a different perspective.
Talk to your kids and family about race. It's important kids begin to learn about issues of race and equity early (in an age-appropriate manner) so they can begin to develop their own awareness of injustice. While we may think of these issues are purely adult ones, equity issues often show up for kids quite early on the playground or in the classroom or cafeteria. Engage your family in discussions, and watch films that educate on justice or confronting inequities. If you don't feel prepared for these sensitive discussions, check out this article.
Become a mentor; give access to power. Find someone who is doing great things and be a mentor. If you're in a leadership position, encourage your colleagues in management roles to do the same. Regardless of your title or position, each one can reach one. Giving the voiceless access to power can break the cycle and create change for those who may never otherwise have access to it.
Reduce bias in objective selection processes. Subjectivity is often the death knell for people of color. Too often, when selection processes or other decisions are made without clear cut, objective criteria, people of color end up getting the short end of the stick.
Advocate for justice and challenge your own stereotypical beliefs. Changing your behaviors and actions starts with changing your thoughts. Challenge yourself to identify your own deeply embedded stereotypes or bigoted thoughts.
Speak up publicly. Micro-aggressions and inequities are pervasive in the workplace, and it's so important for everyone to speak up when they happen. When you see something, say something.
Listen and support each other. As people genuinely share their respective journeys, listen to understand. Supporting each other is our greatest strength. Our strength is in our unity.