Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three words perpetually bound together in our modern lexicon to convey the ideal components of a fair and just society. In theory, they provide a worthwhile blueprint for removing bias and privilege from our collective experience, but a blueprint can take us only so far—realization of this goal will require daily introspection and vigilance in our external interactions to check and recalibrate our motives.

In theory, inclusion is the active and ongoing engagement with diversity in a manner that ensures that perspectives are valued and needs are understood. It is a social remedy that exists to counteract the injustices of systematic exclusion, diminished access, and devaluation of diversity experienced by many in our society.

Nonprofit leaders and advocates must be especially vigilant to ensure that this restrictive form of inclusion does not infiltrate and undermine our collective social justice goals. In fact, we must radically reframe what it means to be inclusive: moving beyond opening doors of access, to providing tools for the marginalized to knock the sequestered doors of privilege off their hinges.

When used effectively, foundations can provide the resources, programmatic support, and access to power structures that will bring us closer to realizing a society that thrives in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. But a new generation of advocates must emerge—one that is more teachable, and unafraid to have uncomfortable conversations that challenge the very foundations of our work in communities. We must be a generation unwavering in our resolve to use our agency to apply collective pressure to institutional barriers that seek to divide us. We must be a generation with the profound understanding that a just and open society is something that we across the spectrum of humanity owe each other.

Read the full article about nonprofit diversity and inclusion by Antonesia Wiley at Nonprofit Quarterly.