Celebrate Diversity and Inclusion
April is often designated as Diversity Month; a month during which we recognize, honor and celebrate diversity. By celebrating our differences and similarities we hope that all people will get a deeper understanding of one another. In Richland Two there is strength in our diversity and our unique traits and characteristics, when joined together, make us richer and more powerful. As Maya Angelou said: “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”
Just as important as diversity but not as easily obtained is inclusion. Inclusion is an action word that requires us to proactively do something to make a person in one group be fully incorporated in another group. Diversity happens naturally but inclusion takes work.
As a district, we have been purposeful in making diversity and inclusion a principle practice of our strategic plan. It is one of the strategies we use to help make Richland Two a premier school district and to help us achieve premier culture and environment, talent and achievement for our students, parents, staff and community. To be successful, we have to imbed diversity and inclusion in everything we do. We have to be of the mindset that each decision we make, at every level of district organization, must take into account the strength of our diversity and the need to ensure inclusion.
During the month of April, the Department of Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion encourages you to take some time to see and appreciate the beautiful diversity of our students and staff and to think about things that you can do to help us ensure inclusion. Visit a school and volunteer to read or to assist with an activity or spend a few minutes talking to a student about what is important to them and what they need you to know about them.
For the staff in our schools and/or for those who work with us at the District Office, share a random act of kindness, a word of thanks or a compliment. Let someone you work with know that you see and appreciate their contributions to our district and that their contributions are important.
For our parents and the greater Richland Two community, support the diverse businesses in our district. Whether shopping for clothing or food or out for entertainment, consider visiting a place you haven’t been and trying an activity that’s new to you. You can find cuisine from across the world in our district and new and exciting things can be found every day in our local libraries.
As you explore the many ways our Richland Two family is diverse I believe that you will find that you have more in common than what you see as differences. As you celebrate our tremendous diversity, let’s commit to strengthening our inclusion. To help you with ideas and suggestions, please see the attached calendar that you may use to mark off your diversity and inclusion activities for the month. Share your experiences with us on Twitter @EmbraceEquity using #R2DMI and #FueltheFlame.
Happy Celebrate Diversity Month!
Dr. Helen N. Grant
Chief Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion Officer
Richland District Two