You know prejudice is bad, but it’s complicated. You want to do something to help change things, but you’re not sure how. Rather, you’re not sure how to do it effectively and without just picking a fight. So don’t fight prejudice… champion diversity. The Anti-Defamation League made a list* of 101 easy, simple things you can do to promote positive change. Here are my top 15:
- Know your roots and share your pride in your heritage with others.
- Invite friends from backgrounds different from your own to experience the joy of your traditions and customs.
- Plan family outings to diverse neighborhoods in and around your community and visit local museums, galleries and exhibits that celebrate art forms of different cultures.
- Research your family tree and trace your family’s involvement in the struggle for civil and human rights or the immigration experience. Identify personal heroes and positive role models.
- Speak out against jokes and slurs that target people or groups. Silence sends a message that you are in agreement. It is not enough to refuse to laugh.
- Publish and distribute to all staff a [calendar] of ethnic and/or religious holidays and the meaning of the customs associated with celebrating them.
- Meet with food services at your [work] to discuss the possibility of featuring ethnic cuisines on a regular basis. Consult with local restaurants and community groups to participate in the program.
- Research peace negotiations going on around the world regarding ethnic or racial conflict. [and use THAT as water cooler convo]
- Survey local card and gift shops for product lines geared to diverse groups. Write to greeting card companies and local merchants to advocate for expanding the diversity of selections.
- Become aware and respectful of individual work styles.
- Become aware of your city/town’s demographics and compare it to others around the state to better understand the diversity in your community.
- Encourage friends of other faiths to visit your religious services and share your religious knowledge with them.
- Plan a community-wide “Walk/Run Against Hate” in which sponsored participants would donate all monies pledged to an anti-bias or other human rights organization.
- Sponsor a mentoring program and reach out to students in local high schools and colleges.
and my favorite…
- Collect traditional family recipes from [your team] for a Community Cookbook. Solicit ads to support the cost of reproducing and distributing the book as part of a welcome wagon program for new residents.
ENJOY being positive and encouraging to others. It’s contagious!