DEI is a Journey, Not a Destination

By David Rosynsky, Director of Innovation and Standardization

A new year can hold a lot of promise. The phrase “New Year, New You” comes to mind. Many of us promise ourselves that this year will be the year our resolutions stick and that we achieve our goals.

Setting goals is a crucial part of one’s growth and development.

But, sometimes, it feels more like pressure rather than the promise of a new year. The phrase “New Year, New Stress” comes to mind, especially for people who struggle with their mental health, self-esteem, or other issues.

Expert ruminators find this time of year particularly handy for taking stock and revisiting the wins and losses of the past. This activity isn’t limited to individuals, especially groups who fall victim to this heavy contemplation.

As we surge through 2023, our all-volunteer Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Staff Workgroup engaged in deep conversations, asking ourselves some familiar year-in-review questions such as:

  • “Are we doing enough?”
  • “Do we know enough?”
  • “How can we do more?”

Though we didn’t have all the answers, we recognize that the work being done helped our organization become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. We acknowledged that nurturing an evolving culture is a process that takes small and consistent steps to do it well.

It’s a lesson exemplified by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom we honor this month.

Dr. King sought to raise public consciousness of racism and ending racial discrimination and segregation. While his purpose was to realize racial equality, Dr. King understood that a series of smaller objectives involving grassroots campaigns were crucial to achieving seemingly impossible goals.

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way,” said Dr. King. “In actions great and small, he helped to change the course of America.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The more our workgroup talked, we realized that each of our bi-weekly discussions were more than just regular meetings. Within our meetings, we created a safe space to engage in complex conversations, explore issues and ideas, and ultimately practice listening, honesty, and mutual respect. These meetings are our small steps – our grassroots efforts to expand our experiences, stretch our comfort levels, and challenge ways that “we’ve always done it.”

So, as we step into the new year, we must work to resist the voices in our heads that often thrive on self-doubt, remembering that we’re all on a journey – and, if we’re lucky, a long one.

By WestCare

We're a family of nonprofit organizations providing a wide spectrum of health and human services across the United States, 3 U.S. territories, and 2 Republics.

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