Over the past two weeks, our country has experienced some of the most harrowing events in our history. Hate crimes, including a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh and a racial attack at a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky, have shaken our nation. We often feel devastated and helpless when we hear about these tragedies. I know I was shocked that hate-filled actions have yet again become a topic in my social feeds. But we all have the power to take actions that promote inclusion and make those around us feel loved and accepted. Even small actions can make a big impact. See below for six ways you can encourage inclusivity, according to our Love Has No Labels campaign, which celebrates diversity and promotes acceptance of everyone.
Ask Questions & Make Connections
Conversation has the power to reveal what we have in common — to break down bias and connect us with people based on who we really are at heart instead of what others assume based on our appearance. Just because you may appear to be different from someone on the surface doesn’t mean you can’t connect. These questions can help you get to know others at work, home, or wherever you might be.
Be an Ally
No matter where we are, we all can show the people around us that we support them. Explore resources about communities that are different from your own and learn how to challenge biased language through meaningful actions and communication.
Create a Sense of Belonging
Welcoming new people into your community can go a long way towards helping someone feel included. Making a point of engaging with your neighbors, coworkers or peers enables you to stay connected with the people around you — and contributes to a world that values kindness and understanding over exclusion.
Stereotypes are oversimplified images or ideas about social identity groups — for instance, older adults are sometimes assumed to be “bad at technology.” And while this may seem harmless, stereotypes are overwhelmingly inaccurate and can negatively impact decisions around employment, education, the justice system, housing and financial services. By taking time to reconsider stereotypes internally and question whether the assumptions we are making are supported by real evidence specific to an individual, we can work to ensure everyone is valued equally.
Consider Your Actions and Reactions
Are there certain people you don’t feel quite as comfortable approaching, sitting next to, or talking to? For example, people with disabilities sometimes find people staring at them, or looking away and acting as if they’re invisible. People from several racial and religious groups also find that people avoid them on the street, lock their car doors, or clutch their belongings as they walk by. Instead of avoiding eye contact or walking across the street, engage with people as you normally do. If it’s appropriate, include the individual in your conversation and encourage others to engage in an open, inclusive manner.
Think About Whose Voices Are (and Aren’t) Represented
When in conversations where decisions are being made or key topics are discussed, ask yourself, “Who is at the table? Whose voices are missing?” and consider ways to incorporate diverse perspectives into the discussion. If you don’t feel that diverse perspectives are being represented in your workplace, have a conversation with your manager to see if you can brainstorm solutions together.
For more tips on how you can act inclusively at home, school or work, be sure to visit LoveHasNoLabels.com/Actions. To support the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue, join the Anti-Defamation League’s digital vigil to say #NeverIsNow.