How I would Start off a Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award Celebration

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Here is a rhetorical question. Diversity and Inclusion, what do you think that means?

Take me for example. I am African AND American. Does that make me black or does that make me African or does it make me Black and African? Is there a difference between those two? And if there is a difference, is it important that you as my educator, co-worker or peer understand these differences? Along the same line of thought, what are some of the big picture implications of knowing or not knowing these distinctions (I’m talking in terms of my education, how I receive health care services, my security and my career prospects)

You don’t have to answer any of these questions, that was just a temporary free flow of thought.

But I am Kenyan born. I didn’t know a lick of English Until I was 11 years old. After High School, I did a year of community college and then transferred to a 4-year institution. I finished my undergraduate education with a BS in Conservation Biology and now I am trying to get a PhD in Biomedical Science even though I didn’t take a Biomedical Science class until my 3rd year.

My point is, to me, diversity is more than a difference in skin color, but way of life, a way of thinking. while Inclusion, as the word suggest, is to include within a group or structure.

But how do you bring someone who might not look like you, speak like you, think like you, believe in the things that you do or do things like you into your institution or project, work together with the hopes of accomplishing anything?

The following individuals have managed to do just that. In addition to advancing their own careers they have managed to propel a culture of looking beyond the self and reaching out beyond their immediate surroundings and their efforts have not only benefited our Institution, but the local community. Their efforts have shown that by mixing things up, learning something new or even a new way of thinking can occur even outside the classroom.

But enough of that, lets shift our focus to the real stars of today.

Award recipients, I will call your names one by one. After hearing your name please come up to the front to receive your award.

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