Diversity, Inclusion and Inspiration was the theme for the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrations National Conference in Adelaide this year.
As the main speaker, I offered the following story.*
“Imagine you are hosting a dinner party. Every guest has their own set of preferences. Some don’t eat beef but love lamb. Some are vegetarian, while others are vegan. Some are celiac, others have a gluten allergy; some don’t like eggs… The problem is, you have a set menu. Even unknowingly, you have managed to alienate half of your guests.
Becoming aware of that problem, you make a few changes the next time you host a dinner. And the following week a few more. Until finally, you create a menu that every guest manages to enjoy.”
We each have this innate need to matter and belong and ‘enjoy the meal’ when we come together. I believe…there’s room at the table for everyone.
One way we can know inclusion is to consider what exclusion feels like. If we come back to the analogy of the dinner party. Exclusion might be not having food that we can eat at the table or maybe having to eat something you’d rather not; or, in some cases, exclusion might be experiencing shame for having a dietary need in the first place
You might want to ensure a few ingredients are on your life menu for inclusion to be a way of life—find your ground—your centre, foster a mindful presence, know and meet your own biases, know what you stand for, listen deeply and understand our shared universal need to matter and to be respected. Love is the main ingredient—fresh and lots of it!
World Without Mirrors by Nina Choudhary—A song and images about our shared humanity.
In a world without mirrors, how would I see me—
How would you describe what you see?
How would I look through your eyes if my eyes were blind?
Can you tell me what you’d find?
*Story of inclusion created by Vantage Circle.