Diversity, equity, and inclusion are themes for this month’s newsletter. Diversity is the presence of differences between people. Equity is promoting justice, impartiality, and fairness. Inclusion is ensuring that we welcome all people to a group. While these may be difficult subjects to talk about, we must continually examine our efforts to advocate for them.
Humankind is truly diverse. Our diversity includes race, ethnicity, nationalities, and languages. We differ by gender, age, and sexual orientation. The religions and political affiliations we ascribe to vary as well. When people are excluded for their differences, a lack of equity ensues.
Within our institutions, we need equity. While equity and equality both promote fairness, it is important to distinguish how they differ. Equality refers to treating everyone the same. Equity means treating people differently according to their needs and making accommodations to ensure that everyone can reach the same goals. To have equity, we must have inclusion.
Inclusion is an outcome that ensures that everyone feels welcome. We must challenge ourselves that integration is not enough. Not only must everyone be able to be part of an institution, but they must also feel that they can participate in the decision-making processes for our organizations as well.
If we only integrate, we leave those with diverse backgrounds at the margins. We leave them without a voice—a voice that has unique experiences. Unique experiences may provide them the ability to find different solutions. Solutions that may solve the most extraordinary of problems that our institutions face.
In conclusion, I encourage all of us to champion diversity, promote equity, and advocate for inclusion. Doing so will make changes that have a ripple effect throughout our lives and our institutions.
Ben Houseman, CFP®, ChFC®