This week we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. — probably the single man most well-known for challenging racism in this country. Our celebration of his fight brings my attention to how far we still have to go when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

In 2019, I had several opportunities to deepen my knowledge, challenge my perceptions, and become more aware of my unconscious bias. And now in 2020, I hope to remember that DEI work takes WORK, through ongoing education, challenges, redirection, and effort. As Vu Le has said, we need to treat DEI more like dental hygiene and less like a tonsillectomy: it’s something we have to do on a regular basis, not only once!

So here are a few of the things I plan to do this year to continue my education. I challenge you to join me or to come up with your own list. Our society and our sector will be better off for it.

Re-read White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo – I found this book very challenging but very enlightening. I will continue to gain insight by reading it again.

Read Vu Le’s blog NonprofitAF – While DEI is far from his only topic, everything he writes about is informed by that lens and challenges me to see things differently.

Attend DEI workshops and trainings – I know at least two organizations where I am an active member have trainings planned and I pledge to keep an open mind and a have a willingness to learn.

Listen to Podcasts – One of my favorites is Code Switch and I would like to check out a couple more, like Diversity Straight Up and The Will to Change: Uncovering True Stories of Diversity & Inclusion.

Have authentic conversations with those around me by being willing to make mistakes, confront racism, ask questions, and further understand impact over intent.

Look for ways to act on this learning to create change in ways big and small, and help educate my clients (and my own children!) to be more aware of how they can do the same.

I would love to hear more about your experience with DEI and what things you plan to do this year. What is one thing you try to keep in mind? Which podcasts and books do you like or did you find helpful? What have you learned that changed your whole perspective?

I recognize that my choice to focus on this topic is, in itself, a benefit of white privilege. I also recognize that I am going to make mistakes and that I am the furthest thing from an expert. But my effort to share here with you that I am going to TRY is my attempt to be vulnerable and admit that I have a long way to go. I welcome you to challenge me, and to join me. It’s the least we can do to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.