Getting In Front of the Past: Inclusion and Diversity in 21st Century

One of the greatest challenges of humanity is embracing one another, especially when there is diversity in race, ethnicity or socioeconomic background.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: We have inherited a large house, a great “world house” in which we have to live together – black and white, easterner and westerner, gentile and Jew, catholic and protestant, even when we’re separated in ideas, culture and interest, why?, because we can never again live apart, we must learn to live with each other in peace.

This is one of the quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. that inspires me a lot as a diversity and inclusion consultant. It motives me to do more in engaging, educating and empowering people about the value of embracing cultural differences and living together in peace and harmony.

Diversity is simply “Having a community or organization that consists of members from different identity groups – race, ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic background” while on the other hand, inclusion is “the extent to which individuals have power to influence decision-making”

The 2016 statistics by Fast Company, one of the leading business media brand in the world reveals that organizations with above-average gender & race diversity outperform companies with below-average diversity. Also, a report by McKinsey in 2015 shows that companies in the top quarter for racial/ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to surpass peers, while those in the same bracket for gender diversity are 15% more likely to do the same. In essence, greater results can only be achieved when we take advantage of the powers of diversity and inclusion. We are all of the human race so the differences are more of an opportunity or advantage than setback. Our organizations, companies, and governments can only get better when we work together in peace and harmony.

Lack of harmony has brought major setbacks in organizations, schools, government offices, etc. It makes it difficult for employees in companies and organizations to have a good relationship, thereby affecting their growth negatively. Feeling wanted and valued in a workforce often brings about 100 percent commitment which affects job satisfaction positively, and lead to impact retention.

Martin Luther King once said: I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Look at how diverse our communities are today. Our communities comprises people from different races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. We should all strive to embrace each other’s values, beliefs and cultural differences to live together in harmony. When we do, our team would be more functional and satisfaction will improve.

So as we commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., let us all reflect on the past and live the present with intentions of building a better and inclusive society. We should not allow those who refuse to see the value and power of inculsion to stand in the way of progress to building a unfiied and stronger nation.

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