Diversity & Inclusion: The Audible... Changing the Play towards Inclusion

In football, when the play called doesn't work, the quarterback audibles to change the play. The goal of course is to improve the team's position. In life, we must be ready to do the same. Today, historically marginalized groups such as minorities, women, GLBT, among others, are in a position to advance the conversation forward from Diversity to Inclusion. In the past, the "mainstream" has been able to ignore these groups; but no longer. The dynamics across the country, inside politics, and around the world have changed. Fundamentally, a seismic shift has brought about greater social acceptance and strengthened the universal call for Inclusion. However, true Inclusion won't be easy or accomplished overnight, but it WILL be accomplished. Most people think Diversity represents race or gender. In fact, if you ask the average person what Diversity means that's what they would say. But Diversity is more than black or white; male or female. And, Inclusion has to be part of the equation. So why focus on Inclusion instead of Diversity? With minorities and women representation increasing and corporations looking more diverse than ever, there's still a disconnect — something missing; which is Inclusion. Inclusion means being a part of the decision making process for the company, community or government. Inclusion is more than headcount; it is ideology, thought process, and decision making. It gives everyone a voice and a forum to be heard. Inclusion is the Civil Rights movement of the 21st Century and now is the time to mobilize ourselves to usher in the next frontier of the Diversity journey. As we examine our nation's history and past struggles, we must acknowledge that our Civil Rights leaders didn't dedicate their life just to be diverse; they gave their life to be included. Without Inclusion, Diversity is without a dance partner. For years, the marginalized spent so much time fighting to get a seat at the table that no one asked for a voice at the table. They worked extremely hard for change but lost their voice which has to be shared and understood. A voice provides everyone at the table equal footing and equal opportunity. As members of the larger society and inside of our corporations, we must hold each other accountable to more than just a P&L. We must own our voices, learn how to chorus them together and become stewards of change. Ultimately, as agents of Inclusion, we must demand it within the communities where we live and corporations where we work. No matter your status, title or accomplishments, provide feedback and have open dialogue with management, teachers, or community leaders as a way to develop your Inclusion opportunity. Above all else, never let anyone silence your voice. Diversity and Inclusion cannot be fully recognized without the each person being fully able to be authentic, accepted, and embraced. Let your voices be heard, be counted, and seek universal Inclusion! By D'Mar D. Phillips, CEO, PK's- People Konnections

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