Conversations about diversity and inclusion weigh heavily on our minds as the pendulum swings between false polarities of weaponized, co-opted wokeness and anti-woke sentiments. By now, many of us in the United States have likely spent hours in DEI workshops learning about everything that is wrong and being challenged to find a way to do things “right”.
As an equity specialist and healing practitioner, I recognize that we are perhaps along a journey so vast that we cannot fathom a meaningful end—not unlike staring into a seemingly infinite universe.
Astrophysics is my 2 am rabbit hole when my brain is working out connections between healing, equity, creativity, and co-creation. It is difficult to profess such connections to the masses when diversity and equity efforts are targets. We are all feeling the weight of our values in repeated stand-offs to learn what obstacles we must overcome at this point in the journey.
During this time, I am reminded that my own journey to create human-centered environments began with a single star shining brightly in a vast sky. My north star? To feel like and be treated like no less of a human being than anyone else.
I quickly learned that many are also guided by this star. In working with others, the starlight of compassion, accountability, and healing began sparkling amid the darkness, forming a rich truth amid the matter that holds us all together. We all want to be treated with dignity and respect.
However, some do not know if such spaces are possible. Others question whether we deserve them. Communities are working to champion these spaces, collectively shaping constellations for all to see.
We deserve them.
When clients are naturally frustrated with the seemingly repetitive nature of this journey, I remind them that progress for complex challenges comes in solving time-sensitive issues and gaining the skills to strategically dismantle and replace the system causing the issue. We are now having conversations in different ways and at different levels than the generations before us.
To be sure, there are definite signs of regression in attacks on rights and deliberate attempts to silence truth. It can be daunting. This is where the amateur astrophysics nerd in me kicks in.
We are most familiar with 2-dimensional depictions of our solar system and the relationship between celestial bodies—a single star in the center and eight cyclical patterns representing the orbital path of the planets within its gravitational pull. (Sorry, Pluto.) Equity is like this. A two-dimensional perspective will show us going around and around in circles in an endless, goalless dance of challenges repeating themselves.
The truth is, we are actively orbiting the sun as it travels through space at immense speed. Shift the view of the solar system, and we have covered incredible distances within our galaxy as it moves through space at a velocity much greater than we realize.
Expand the view of our equity work, and we will see the progress. We are moving, and there is progress, even if it is small compared to the vastness that allows us to create constellations.
There is much work to do. This is a reminder to see this for the journey that it is—one that will bring amazing progress through intentional, sustained efforts but that will not end in our lifetimes. I encourage everyone to do the meaningful work that can be done now, like the efforts that allow us to learn more about our existence and lead us down fascinating rabbit holes of discovery.
If a conversation seems to be repeating itself, examine what is different from the previous iteration. Humbly explore what skills will expand your perspective and courageously move the conversation forward. Knowing you are not alone, look toward your north star and make your commitment shine along this journey that can only be accomplished together.