Pursuing an Inclusive Society – ep.102

 Resilient Roots – ep.101
August 10, 2023
 Building Inspiration – ep.103
August 24, 2023

On June 29, 2023, the Supreme Court ruled to end affirmative action in college admissions jeopardizing the fair opportunities of underrepresented groups. In this week’s episode, I’ll discuss alternatives to effectively challenge these setbacks through engagement and advocacy to integrate inclusive practices at the legislative level. 

Melyssa Barrett:  Welcome to the Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around equity, diversity, and inclusion. Each week I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share or is actively part of building solutions in the space. Let’s get started.

I haven’t created an opportunity to discuss this topic, so I figured I would insert this mini podcast in here this week. Many of you are aware of the significant development that has taken place in our legal landscape. And not long ago, in 2023, the Supreme Court made a decision that has far-reaching implications for our ongoing pursuit of a more just and inclusive society. So some of you who may be working in the space of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or even if you’re not working in it, but you’re advocating for the space, you may feel a sense of defeat. What am I talking about? The Supreme Court’s ruling striking down affirmative action, and it underscores the need for continued advocacy and engagement to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion remain at the forefront of our collective efforts. Affirmative action, a policy aimed at addressing historical disadvantages and promoting diversity has been a contentious topic for decades.

It seeks to rectify systemic inequalities by giving underrepresented groups access to opportunities that have long been denied to them. However, the recent ruling challenges this policy sparking important discussions about its impact on our society. So while the ruling presents challenges, it’s vital that we do not lose sight of the core principles that underpin our pursuit of a more equitable world. We know for a fact that diversity enriches our communities, our workplaces, and our educational institutions. It broadens perspectives, fosters innovation, and it strengthens the very fabric of our society. Equity ensures that everyone has access to the same opportunities regardless of their background, while inclusion creates environments where all voices are heard and valued. So how can we, as advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion, respond and continue our mission? And I just wanted to offer a few items, a few steps just to help focus our attention.

The first one being education and awareness. We have to ensure that people understand the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Engaging in conversations, workshops, awareness campaigns, it helps dispel myths, stereotypes, and creates a more informed public. Also, coalition building, forming alliances with like-minded organizations, institutions, and individuals, amplifies our collective voice. By working together, we can advocate for policies and practices that promote equality and diversity. Also, we want to engage with lawmakers. Advocacy at the legislative level is crucial. Sharing our perspectives, urging them to support policies that advance diversity and equity can absolutely drive positive change. And let me not forget to emphasize, if you’re not a registered voter, register to vote and vote for your lawmakers. Make sure you are engaged in your local community as well, and that they are hearing your voice. I would also say we have to continue to promote inclusive practices, encourage businesses, schools, institutions to adopt, inclusive hiring, admissions, promotion practices.

And by showcasing the benefits of diversity, we can encourage stakeholders to prioritize these values. We also want to make sure we are supporting underrepresented voices, empowering individuals from marginalized backgrounds to share their stories and experiences. It’s a powerful way to illustrate the significance of diversity and equity. And their narratives can often inspire change and also create empathy. And while I’m here talking about supporting underrepresented voices, I just want to drop a little nugget to also include artificial intelligence, because there are a lot of underrepresented voices when we think about artificial intelligence. The next one I wanted to mention is just to continue community outreach, engage with your local communities, host workshops, foster dialogues on diversity and inclusion. And it can create ripples of change that extend far beyond the courtroom, the White House, wherever, the classroom, those ripples of change make a difference. And then lastly, I’ll just say in terms of advocacy, I talked a little bit about lawmakers, legislators, but we have a voice.

One of the things I love about podcasting is that it’s so accessible and we have an opportunity to create advocacy through art and media. And there are so many that are so innovative in telling stories. It’s amazing. So utilizing art, media, storytelling to truly depict the value of diversity and the consequences of inequality, it can reach people on emotional levels and prayerfully inspire empathy and understanding. So the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down affirmative action just serves as a reminder of our ongoing challenges in the pursuit of a just and inclusive society. But it’s through our continued advocacy, education and collaboration that we can make a lasting impact.

So let us stand united in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Let us work tirelessly to ensure that these values remain central to the fabric of our nation. And again, I just want to thank all of you for all you do in the world to celebrate and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. Choose diversity, create inclusion, and achieve excellence. Let’s do it. We need you more than ever to engage and advocate. Find an organization that aligns with your goals, your values, your objectives, and give. And by the way, if you’re working for a company that you feel maybe isn’t advocating the way you would like, let’s start seeking out those organizations that are doing the things that we want them to do, or at least help them make change in the way that will transform this planet the way it should be. Be blessed.

Thanks for joining me on the Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.