After a year and a half of upheaval, disruption and collective reckoning on race, our region faces an opportunity to leave behind “business as usual” and dramatically change our perspective. That shift requires having candid conversations about concrete steps we must take to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in our workplaces and community.
On July 29, Nyhus and the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle partnered to convene a virtual conversation on systemic racism and injustice. Michelle Merriweather of the Urban League moderated the event, which included Dr. Nwando Anyaoku of Swedish Health Services, James Thomas of Alaska Airlines, Dustin O’Quinn of Lane Powell and Ben Franz-Knight of Shiels Obletz Johnsen.
The panelists drew from both personal and professional experience managing issues that we collectively navigate in our own organizations every day. From the importance of leadership buy-in and support, to using data to make the moral and business cases for DEI, these experts emphasized the power and value of leading with respect. We were inspired by the thought-provoking and honest conversation with some of our region’s top leaders.
One message rang clear: This work is never done.
Whether you choose to call it a journey, a process or a shift in mindset, there is no end point. You do not simply arrive at a destination and check DEI off a to-do list. The listening and learning must continue, in tandem with intentional and sustained action.
At Nyhus, we are committed to putting in the work to change our perspectives, identify a path forward, and give power to voices that for too long have been marginalized, tokenized or stifled. We are using our position as conveners in this community to amplify those voices and implement change in our own organization with purpose and authenticity. Our collective effort is helping lay a foundation for longer-term investments that will make a measurable difference.
As communications professionals, we are in the business of words. We see this critical work as akin to learning a new language. We do not wake up fluent in a new language. We start with the basics, conjugating verbs and memorizing nouns. We get educated on the fundamentals, begin to recognize and appreciate cultural context, and learn to identify and correct our mistakes.
Once we have a stable base on which to build, comprehension improves. Through immersion in the history, nuance and beauty of the new language, we learn from those who live with it every day or who have long worked to understand its multiple layers of meaning.
During this process, we even start to better understand our native language and appreciate its complexity more deeply, knowing there is always more to learn. We find new ways to use language to positively impact those around us until it becomes part of who we are. Fluency is born out of dedication, hard work and humility.
Diversity, equity and inclusion are no different.
We thank our partners and community leaders who remind us that this work requires constant attention, honesty and heart. The road to fluency may feel long and complex but helping to dismantle systems that unjustly harm and disadvantage communities of color is our moral imperative.
We encourage you to join us.