As a month of events focused on learning, acknowledging, and thinking about the contributions and experiences of the Black members of our community comes to a close, we at Imperial As One have had a re-think of diversity initiatives.
These days diversity exists at the forefront of the strategies and goals of most organisations, but in many instances where diversity is championed, what is really needed is inclusion. By inclusion, we are not referring to the ‘inclusion’ bit of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, which calls for equal access to resources and opportunities, but rather inclusion in its most base sense, which is to be included. This idea is not new, long have we acknowledged the mystical value of the ‘boys club’, that illustrious group of individuals for whom doors open and promotions materialise. But of course, promotions don’t simply materialise. It has been found that the careers of working mothers (though there is no reason to assume that this would not apply to fathers as well) are impeded by their inability to socialise at the end of the workday. Relationships are formed and ideas shared not only at post-work drinks but also during lunch breaks and coffee mornings, after seminars and workshops, inside and outside the work environment.
In recognition of this, we at Imperial As One would like to suggest that between now and the next “Transgender Awareness Week”, “South Asian Heritage Month”, “International Women’s Day” or, “Black History Month” (a whole 11 months away), rather than smiling broadly and feeling inspired by the diversity surrounding you, consider how you might go about including others. Share ideas, discuss projects, attend events you normally wouldn’t, or, just invite someone to join you for tea. It’s time we acknowledge that minoritised individuals are here as our colleagues, not as collectables. Diversity alone will not move us forward, broadening our communities will.