We’ve been cleaning, and clearing, out our house the past couple of days, and I came across the photo shown above in one of Villanova’s print publications.
Like many organizations, including schools of higher education, we have committed a great deal of time, energy, and money to the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In fact, we have a training session coming up on August 6 for faculty on how to build an inclusive academic environment. I applaud such efforts, and champion such causes as best I can. I volunteer each year at Villanova’s Special Olympics Festival, and I also serve as a Safe Zone volunteer. Safe Zone provides support for the LGBTQ+ community at Villanova and provides educational opportunities for all community members. Safe Zone helps to create a welcoming and open environment for all and seeks to provide opportunities for increased awareness and visibility of LGBTQ related issues and needs.
A couple of years ago I went to a student diversity skit that was offered as part of freshmen orientation since I was curious how students try to make other students aware of the various issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. I also hoped that I could learn a thing or two that I could incorporate into the classroom.
So you may think that the photo above is from that recent diversity skit that I attended, but that is not the case.
That is a photo from a 2002 University publication. The photo accompanied a story with the following headline:
Diversity Presentation Transforms Hearts and Minds
That’s right, 2002.
We’ve been working on these issues for at least 18 years, and I know we are not alone.
The issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion are challenging, and there is no easy solution. But my sense is that we (the University and beyond) have reached a critical stage in addressing such issues, and that real change is on the horizon.
I don’t think it means we have failed if we are still having diversity skits for at least the past 18 years.
John Lewis fought for equality his entire life, from his time as a college student until his final days as a member of the U.S. Senate, where he served for the past 30 plus years.
If we need to keep having skits and seminars on diversity, equity, and inclusion, then so be it.
At some point, hopefully, we will recognize that all people are created equal.
I also hope we can rewrite the title of this blog to “The More We Work for Change, the More Our Efforts Will Be Rewarded”.