By Terry Orr
There wasn't much diversity in Kansas City (North), Missouri during the 1950’s and 1960’s where I grew up. My initial exposure to diversity came from a very good and well-rounded black man who worked as the parking attendant at a local parking garage in downtown Kansas City behind my dad’s printing company. In hindsight, this experience and relationship helped to prepare me for the US Navy and better understanding of Civil Rights Movement. I still have fond memories of setting on crates, have a cold drink and listening to his excellent stories. Embracing diversity is a way of life for me – while others reject it. So let’s read on and learn more about National Diversity Day and attempt to find some common ground and become more open to embracing others.
What is Diversity?
The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, sociology economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
National Diversity Day is a day to:
- Celebrate and embrace who we are, despite our differences, no matter what race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, or disability.
- Reflect on and learn about different cultures and ideologies;
- Vow acceptance and tolerance; and
- Consciously address these areas at educational and religious institutions - as well as in the workplace and at home.
The United States of America thrives on diversity. A synthesis of the world’s plentiful and varied races, religions, and cultures, America is a home to all, such that no one group can call itself more “American” than another. And the fusion of cultures here is so unique and so exceptional that citizens can be just as proud of their original cultural heritage as they are to be an American. [Source: www.worldandi.com]
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