Recent tragic or confounding events, including international conflicts, political disputes, court rulings, state legislations, book bannings, etc., have threatened the value and power of our international, national, social and institutional diversity. Unfortunately, this has caused and normalized extreme polarization of perspectives, behaviors and our response to the differences that make us who we are and that empower our potential as communities and organizations. How do we respond to this? What can we do as individuals, leaders and institutions to mitigate this seeming impasse, to work on harnessing the strength of our diversity to seek a better reality?

As the founding director of the Center for Social Justice and chief diversity officer at Excelsior University, I recommend getting started by prioritizing three key strategies, which we've incorporated into our center's agenda.

  • Safe Spaces
    First and most importantly, I believe that if we are concerned about—or at least notice—our current polarization of perspectives, behaviors and reactions to difference, we should then share responsibility for our intentional and courageous facilitation of safe interactions. This includes spaces that lift the diverse stories and voices around us, of multi-perspective dialogue focused on learning from our differences.
  • Access To Education
    Second, I believe that we are responsible for identifying structural opportunities to facilitate the development and potential of those marginalized and historically underrepresented among us.
  • Partnerships
    Third, we must no longer assume that our fight for systemic equity and social justice can be pursued or led in isolation, either individually or as teams, organizations or nations. The wicked challenges we face are evidence of the depth of our inevitable interconnections and interdependencies, including with individuals, communities and cultures we don’t have the capacity to understand or with whom we might never be able to agree. Investing time, resources and the courage to open up to each other, and to explore and pursue collaboration opportunities rather than only compete, has become key in our ability to respond to our systemic issues.

Read the full article about strategies for leveraging diversity by Daniel Pascoe Aguilar at Forbes.