Inclusion and Belonging is Impossible without Equity
I read the headline:
Florida federal judge halts debt-forgiveness program for Black and other disadvantaged farmers and felt my blood boil.
As I leaned into the flash of anger I asked myself again, what is it about equity, historically and currently, that make some people feel a need to stop it; by any means necessary? Usually aided and abetted by racist laws, policies and ideas.
But I know why. I help organizations understand differences. Become skilled at recognizing, how differences intersect and interact individually, within teams and within the larger culture. I help people learn how to practice inclusion at the intersections and during the interactions.
I help organizations create strategies to address issues of equity and exclusion. I help organizations operationalize their strategy.
The work regarding issues of power and equity remains the most contentious. Leaders often ask how do I address pushback? Pushback like this relatively small act of trying to create equity for Black farmers, who have lost more than 12 million acres of farmland over the past century as a result of systemic racism, biased governmental policies and practices that denied Black farmers access to resources, support and justice. Pushback after White farmers received nearly $9.7 million in pandemic relief and socially disadvantaged farmers received less than 1% of that.
I’m sure the farmer who cried discrimination feels justified. Looking from his individual challenging situation and outraged that the same system of systemic racism, biased governmental policies and practices that favored him in the past are not centered around him in this situation.
Equity is contentious because of the fear and fragility it invokes. One cannot create equitable systems without addressing racist ideas, polices, laws, and the oblivion of how one’s whiteness is pervasive, dominant and can intentionally or unintentionally impede progress toward equity and inclusion.
Inclusion and belonging is impossible without equity. Equity means everyone has access to the resources, opportunity and power they need to reach their full potential.
It takes commitment and collective responsibility to actually change the systems that sustain the inequities marginalized groups experience. To move people from fear to the psychological safety necessary to engage fully with one another, and move forward together. It is both possible and transformational.
There is enough. Abundance and inclusion go together, just as fear, lack, and exclusion go together. With willingness, commitment, vulnerability, trust, empathy, and courage we can build a better world for ourselves and the generations to come. Our connection to one another are greater than our differences. Envision a world where everyone has what they need for self-actualization. In pursuit of that vision you help create a world where you can shine as your very best self.