Despite five years on the job, I still struggle to explain exactly what diversity advocacy really means. Front line activists think I’m in HR while my parents resort to telling people I’m a community organizer “like Obama.” If 2017 has taught me anything, it’s that nothing is sacred. So I thought, “why not be a good millennial and GIF it out?”
Without further ado, here are the 10 stages of diversity advocacy:
Step 1: Forget what you know about “diversity”.
Those pictures of rainbows and handholding are tired AF.
Step 2: Have your lightbulb moment: Diversity is a critical tool to make sure people of color 1) access and thrive in job markets, and 2) take part in making decisions that impact our communities.
Cause, you know, jobs and autonomy are important and stuff.
Step 3: Point out the obvious (to the oblivious).
Spoiler alert: People of color (still) face racism.
Step 4: Explain what’s at stake: This isn’t just about disparities; it’s an injustice to be redlined.
We know it’s wrong to exclude people from neighborhoods and schools, whether it’s done purposely or not. Why would the job market be different?
Step 5: Show folks their role in addressing the problem.
The corporations driving our economy have a duty and opportunity to create economic development in communities of color. Make them feel good(ish) about it!
Step 6: Listen for the defensiveness, excuses, and/or awkwardness.
Directions: Nod, smile, breathe (repeat).
Step 7: Prove them wrong.
It’s 2017. Do I really have to “prove” that people of color have talent and that glass ceilings still exist?!
Step 8: Get a commitment for change.
Simple: What gets measured gets done.
Step 9: Stay woke.
People behave differently when they know someone is watching. Watchdogs ensure folks actually walk the talk.
Step 10: Repeat steps (1-9).
Don’t tell me you thought the fun was over?!
Danielle Beavers is Greenlining’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Follow her on Twitter