DIVERSITY DIVA

Diverse reasons to give thanks

Updated: 2013-11-19T23:33:41Z

By MICHELLE T. JOHNSON

Special to The Star

As we are about to swing full force into the holiday seasons and celebrate what we are thankful for, I thought I would share some of what I appreciate about diversity.

I am thankful that we have social media to give people a voice to express their feelings when it comes to injustice and inequality. Many issues no longer have to crouch in darkness. And many people now have a forum to connect with others. Everyone gets a personal soapbox.

I am thankful that laws are more rapidly catching up to reality. Currently there are more laws either in existence or in the proposal stage to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, genetic and medical information, and people who are unemployed job seekers.

I am thankful that people recognize the power of introverts and how people who are more inwardly focused bring different strengths to the workplace, including in their leadership styles.

I am thankful that despite the discrimination and bigotry that still exist in many pockets of this country, it’s easier than ever to have personal and professional friendships with people who are completely different from you. Variety is the spice of life, and that includes a varied support system.

I am thankful to live in a time and place when people are allowed to be proud of their ethnic, cultural, religious and social identity. I’m particularly thankful to see many large organizations allowing room for identity to be openly celebrated through having affinity and employee resource groups.

I am thankful that while some people still think of diversity as a “dirty” word that puts too much emphasis on differences, people are increasingly becoming sophisticated enough to see that ignoring differences is equally as problematic.

I am thankful that technology brings the world closer together and better allows us to be a global community that can appreciate how inter-connected and inter-dependent we all are on one another in this human race. The window we have on the world and that the world has on us pressures us to do better and be better.

Send questions to Michelle T. Johnson on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diversitydiva. Follow her at Twitter.com/divaofdiversity.

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