Updated: Oct 8, 2019
By Nathaniel Turner, Author, Education and Parent Activist, and IWL Conference Speaker
In 1776, the Founders professed that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” However, as we are all sadly aware, the ‘Declaration’ initially omitted the equality of women, minorities, and non-property owners.
Today most rational people agree self-evident truths exist for everyone, and humans are all created equally. So it might appear strange that despite what logical folk accepts as fact, two-hundred and forty-three years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, our Nation still grapples with issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity.
In the year 2019, some of us are more concerned with discovering how to board spaceships to inhabit Mars than ensuring every person on Earth enjoys equality of life, individual liberty, and the opportunity to pursue happiness. Far too many of us are unknowingly living like the Founders. Daily, we consciously declare the equality of all humans loudly while we watch – consciously and unconsciously – the denial of humanity silently.
During the 2019 IWL Conference, I enjoyed the privilege of being able to share my prescription for improving the way we treat one another – finally making the promises of the ‘Declaration’ manifest for all citizens. If you attended the IWL event, then what I’m about to share is a refresher, and you are undoubtedly at this very moment relentlessly living your PVP (Personal Value Proposition), making sure humanity extends to all humans.
However, if you missed the IWL conference, first of all, shame on you, you better attend next year! It’s an event you can’t afford to miss. Before you do anything else, contact IWL right now to find out next year’s event details so that you can save the date.
One Big Thing
If I summarized my presentation “Raising Diversity-Minded Kids’, into one word, that word is ‘who.’ Who as in the most critical word in human language. ‘Who’ is the word that should begin and end each day. ‘Who’ am I or more succinctly ‘who’ are you? ‘Who’ as in when your time on the planet is up, ‘who’ will history say you were?
Not knowing who we are and failing to consider our legacy to the planet is the reason issues like gender equality, poverty, hunger, racial injustice, and the like remain ubiquitous. We do a great job verbalizing whom we’d like to believe we are, but like the Founders, we do a horrible job modeling behavior proving we are what we profess.
Expressions of equity and equality found in diversity and inclusion policy statements and writing fair-minded principles in the company mission and corporate vision statements aside, rarely do we live what we profess to believe. I’m afraid that as a species, we have no idea ‘who’ we are.
Tree and Fruit
Speaking of species, let’s consider for a quick moment one that lives authentically and purposefully – an apple tree. An apple tree has an uncompromising commitment to only be what it is. An apple tree does not produce peaches, nor are apples found attached to peach tree branches. An apple tree only produces apples.
You and I are an entirely different story, we claim to believe in the equality of humans, but unlike the apple tree, we continuously produce things that are divergent from our beautifully written principles and precepts about humanity.
Rather than producing diverse, inclusive, and equitable socio-economic ecosystems, we create racially segregated neighborhoods, gender homogenous C-Suites, and preferential standards for those with wealth and privilege.
We Must Do Better. We Must Be Better.
If we ever intend to reach our potential as a Nation, if we want all humans to experience their endowed equality, every one of us must stand up and produce actions daily that bring to life our belief in humanity.
A final word to parents: we need to figure out ‘who’ we are now because parents who talk about diversity but raise children in segregated communities and who extol the virtues of inclusivity but hire and promote based on homogeneity will produce the same two-hundred and forty-three-year-old version of ourselves. We must do better. We must be better.
Nathaniel Turner is a best-selling author, Education and Parent Activist, and Life Strategist.
Visit www.nathanielaturner.com to learn more about how he can help you, your children and your organizations Do Better. Be Better.