You are the product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you towards your objective. – W. Clement Stone

What?

Reaching out is all about creating and cultivating connections. It’s ensuring there’s a literal rainbow in your figurative rooms — the different spaces and places in your life. It’s a decision to prioritize and commit to widening your personal, professional and social (media) circles to include racial diversity. It is focused on increasing intergroup contact; exposing yourself to other people with different racial backgrounds, religious beliefs, disAbilities, etc. than you. 

Why?

If you’re truly committed to anti-racism, to building a more inclusive world around you, then you need to shape your own environments to mirror that goal. Incorporating racial, religious, and other dimensions of diversity reduces unconscious bias, which in turn can reduce micro aggressions. Importantly, intergroup contact also helps reduce the negative health impacts of racism. 

How?

Make space in your networks for racial diversity so you can better understand the nuances of the world that you don’t experience. Add diversity to your social media feeds. Get involved in local opportunities that will expose you to more and different people. If opportunity is lacking where you are, look for examples of what you’d like to see and start working on ways to create that. 

Recommended Resources

Act for Impact

If I am in the learn stage of my journey I need to expand my awareness of the lived experiences of those different than me and gain a deep and meaningful understanding of issues faced by them through credible resources and critical thinking. My focus is on exposing myself to first-hand sources of information, likely "from a distance", to learn in an unfiltered way that minimizes unintentional or inadvertent harm. 

What I can do to Reach Out:

  • Add BIPOC perspectives to my social media feeds
  • Read blogs, books, and poetry by and about Black, Indigenous, Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and other people of color
  • Watch webinars or other media productions by and about racial and ethnic groups. 
  • If I am BIPOC, I should consider what perspectives will support my healing and capacity for compassion towards those I typically feel hurt/oppressed by; I should also consider what biases I harbor for racial or other groups and seek to learn through credible social media, literature, and media

If I am in the grow stage of my learning journey, I should practice active allyship, adjust my own behaviors, and internalize inclusive attitudes/beliefs. My focus is on changing myself -- how I think, react, interpret -- and ultimately how I "show up" in a space. 

What I can do to Reach Out:

  • Get informed about my campus's diversity efforts so I can get involved. This will create opportunities to respectfully and intentionally cultivate relationships that broaden the diversity of my network. These opportunities can pave the path for me to be invited by others to engage in discourse and supportive activities 
  • If I can't find anything, I can ask an institutional office (e.g. HR, JEDI, DEIA offices) for more information about the organization's diversity work and opportunities to establish resources like employee resource groups (ERG)
  • Prepare for uncomfortable conversations by considering the personal or emotionally charged questions that may come up and thinking through my responses. 
  • Give voice to people I meet (not just BIPOC) or want to get to know better by asking "what's your story?" or "tell me about yourself" - this opens the dialogue up by steering people away from defining themselves by their race, ethnicity, roles or other constructs. It makes it easier for people, especially BIPOC, to present themselves in the way they want to be understood. 

If I am in the lead stage of my learning journey, I am more informed, practiced, and better equipped to model authentic allyship, challenge the status quo, and affect change within my spheres of influence even when faced with adversity, resistance, or ignorance. My focus is inspiring others to examine their beliefs, learn, and grow. 

What I can do to Reach Out:

  • (Co)create or sponsor  structured conversations and safe spaces and invite employees/team members to participate. Be careful not to tokenize or burden members of  marginalized groups to lead or do the work that facilitates learning. 
  • Creating or leveraging DEI shared learning and exploration opportunities (more than just "training" events), like ARiA or Truth in Racial Healing Circles. 
  • Sponsoring guest speakers or other kinds of subject matter experts to facilitate continuous learning and dialogue. Consider partnerships with subject matter experts on your campus (faculty, staff, and students) - experts in sociology, psychology, social work, history, anthropology, etc. - or within your surrounding community.