By Cynthia Miller, MHS Executive Coordinator
You cannot lead others to a destination you have never been. The journey of many begins with your own personal journey. In John Maxwell’s wisdom he writes: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
Diversity, equity and inclusion is the new hot topic. There are many reasons “why” your organization should consider heading in this direction. How do you lead such an endeavor? It begins with you. Are you ready to start your own personal journey?
This makes me reflect on my own personal journey into “awakening” as some call it, which began after the death of George Floyd. I had completed anti-racism training 15 years earlier but never felt the calling to educate myself further. As with many, George Floyd’s death sparked a new level of humanity in me. I began to delve into every movie, book and documentary I could get my hands on.
For the first time, I wanted to really understand terms like “white privilege” and “systemic racism”, as well as dissect the differences between racism, supremacy, and dominance. Guess what happened when I did this?
A passion stirred within me. I began to see the injustice of systems that were set in place to advantage white men. I began sharing my new found knowledge. Organically people began following me. Sidenote: not everyone embraced my passion and views. Leading is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, especially when leading in diversity, equity and inclusion.
Are you feeling a calling to DEI within your ministry? Are you feeling a “personal” conviction? Good…it has to be personal. Remember, you cannot lead where you have never been.
The first step you can take toward your personal journey is to prioritize your DEI education:
- Read, read, read! I personally recommend White Fragility by Robin Diangelo. The book helps you understand your own resistance as well as the resistance you will receive from others as you move closer to DEI within your organization and other aspects of your life.
- Become familiar with black history. The video, Holy Post – Race in America, is a synopsis of black history and the laws that were put into place that led our country to systemic racism.
- Learn to empathize with the journey of black men and women. We are a product of our environment. Put yourself in their shoes. The video, Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary: Post Traumatic Slave Disorder , is one source to aid you in this.
- Embrace the message of God in regards to diversity, equality and inclusion. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” Galatians 3:28. Delve into the scriptures and let God lead you!