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A break from what’s broken and a toast to what works

The DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) field can get very heavy. After all, it’s crucial to see what’s going wrong so we can improve. Plus, creating solutions where there’s fear of change is hard work with high stakes. But we also need examples of what's working well: “if we can see it, we can be it.” Not to mention, the human heart needs the chance to share, connect, and be seen.

Last I co-hosted a little experiment with the Anti-Defamation League in LA--a pro-inclusion happy hour to share examples of our communities, businesses, and families taking tangible action to be more welcoming of people or ideas. We heard about a research project led by Black women, a new policy to address housing inequities, a health clinic connecting COVID shots to low-income residents, and loving attitudes about gender inclusivity from younger generations.

Does a collection of anecdotes change the world? Of course not. But does assuming it’s all doom and gloom help? Not last time I checked. Feeling angry isn’t a bad thing--sometimes it’s the motivation we need. But running on anger alone can do troubling things to us over time. Punctuating anger with gratitude, curiosity, and desire to grow is a powerful concoction.

Don’t get me wrong--I don’t suggest we fake gratitude just to have a break from being fired up. But if we’re going to stay the course and not just do equity and inclusion work when something gross makes the headlines, we need to pace ourselves. DEIB work has to be allergic to whims and embrace the long game.

I enjoyed a nice glass of red wine during our pro-inclusion happy hour, but it was the spirit of growth and generosity that made me feel a little tipsy. So thank you to everyone doing this work. And I’m excited to hear more stories about the amazing triumphs, large and small, my justice-focused colleagues are leading. You all inspire me.

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