3 Resolutions for a More Inclusive and Equitable New Year

With 2021 right around the corner, what inclusion resolutions can we make to ensure personal progress as the world begins to open up and our days become filled with familiar activities and calendar appointments? 

After an unprecedented 2020, resolutions may go beyond the traditional “lose weight, read more, save money, prioritize travel.”  We are likely more introspective, more grateful, and more eager to affect our communities in a positive way. Some of us have explored more around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), committing to learn more about other identities, speak up when bias or inequity is observed, and create environments where more people feel valued and seen.

Let’s review three inclusion resolutions you can make in 2021.

Lean into your privilege. Stop making privilege a dirty word. No matter your race, gender, or socio-economic status, everyone has aspects of privilege and challenge.  Privilege is more about the perception to others about who you are and what you are capable of than your individual work ethic. Learn more about your individual level of privilege and embrace it by spending intentional time and resources with underrepresented individuals. Take that 20-minute virtual coffee with an intern or new associate who is aspiring to your level of success. As we think about discretionary spending for the new year, log off the big box apps and research small businesses led by diverse entrepreneurs that deliver quality products. 

Commit to a new experience every month.  Broaden your perspective by expanding your breadth of knowledge and experiences about different cultures, experiences, and identities. Read an autobiography of someone of a different race, listen to a TED Talk from someone sharing the LGBTQIAP+ experience, or watch a documentary on the systemic inequities that exist in our society. Approach each experience without preconceptions. Listen, be open and ask questions. You might be surprised at how your perspective changes over the course of the year. 

Spend a day thinking about accessibility. Too often we go about our days without thinking about accessibility for people with disabilities. More than one in four people in the US have some type of disability or invisible illness. As you proceed through a day of errands and appointments, or a day of meetings and navigating your work environment, be cognitive of accessible parking, routes, and restrooms. Try using an assistive technology device such as a screen reader or a speech-to-text device, like Siri or Google. Inquire within your organization about web accessibility (many companies haven’t thought about this at all!).  

In committing to these inclusion resolutions for 2021, we can all continue forward progress on our DEI and ally-ship goals. This is important because our society is becoming more and more diverse, and studies show that in the United States this is occurring even faster than predicted. We need to increase our cultural competency to be better leaders, better friends, and better neighbors.

With diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of societal and organizational evolution, individual DEI resolutions are just what 2021 needs.

Jackie Ferguson is a certified diversity executive, co-founder of The Diversity Movement and a member of the National Diversity Council. A life-long equality advocate, Ferguson believes that everyone has a right to live boldly, love freely and achieve the success they work for. 

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