The More You Know
"Words are powerful. When they're not used the right way, they can divide a nation. But when used wisely, they can bring us together in ways that make us stronger. We can all be more connected." - Ann Curry, NBC News
People differ in many ways along a variety of dimensions, including race, ethnicity, religion, gender, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation, age, education, socioeconomic status, language, and political beliefs.
Along with the diversity that has characterized our nation from the very beginning, a corresponding history of prejudice has also always existed. Many individuals have preconceived notions about others based on their backgrounds, though they often have no basis in reality. These judgments can lead to discriminatory actions, even though they often have no basis in reality.
It is up to each and every one of us to combat prejudice and discrimination in our own way. We must focus on ourselves, recognizing any inner biases or prejudices that we possess and eliminating them from our daily thoughts, ideas, vocabularies and actions. It is important to stand up for those around us and to speak out against jokes and comments; silence implies agreement. Any time just one of us loses our rights, all of our rights are tested and diminished.
Diversity has always existed, but it is up to us to create an environment where everyone feels heard, supported and included. Now more than ever, as diverse populations within the U.S. continue to grow and the world is becoming increasingly globalized, it is crucial to respect the differences of others. After all, it is the unique differences, strengths and challenges, differing viewpoints and perspectives that innovate schools, workplaces and countries. Every individual brings something new, exciting and important to the table and it is crucial that each person responds in a manner that affirms and values the worth and dignity of the other. Fostering such an open environment encourages everyone to use his or her full, unique potential to accomplish a common goal. By pooling together so many diverse ideas and strengths, we can accomplish more than any one individual can achieve on his or her own.