Yolanda King Stephen
Next Stop: Equity and Inclusion
Earlier this week, the National School Public Relations Association released an article I wrote for the PRincipal Communicator. They consistently highlight the work and thought leadership of members. I wanted to share some of the article with those who are not members of the association because the information is relevant to those looking to increase their scope in equity and inclusion conversations. Read on for more! Recently, I was visiting friends in New York. As I walked through the John F. Kennedy International Airport, beautifully branded quotes popped off the terminal walls. As a public relations professional, the essence of it all drew me in. One particular quote by John Steinbeck resonated with me, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
While I’m sure it was meant to feed travel tendencies and play on the destination of a particular place, I couldn’t help but to compare it to the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) voyage that our educational organizations like school buildings are tapping their toes into. Whether it is our maiden voyage or our passport is full of DEI work, there is always some place we can travel on our next destination and there is always a new way of seeing things. As principals, you can use these tips in your own DEI voyage. 1. Learn your personal biases - We all have them, reflect on how understanding them can increase your emotional intelligence and build relationships outside of your circle.
2. Check your biases like you check your luggage - When you feel yourself stepping into bias realm, tag it with a mental bag tag so you become aware of the personal behavior that needs to be adjusted.
3. Advocate for marginalized groups of people - Unfortunately, some boardroom tables lack diversity of gender, color, people with varying abilities, etc. Advocate for the people who may not be in the room.
4. Expand your reading catalog - It's vacation time. Take a book that has an inclusivity theme.
5. Lead with data and follow with passion - Show missing links through data then follow that up with passionate work. DEI can have several destinations so pack a big bag and some tough skin as you prepare to head to your first of many stops!