In honor of Black History Month, Workhuman Radio goes on location to some historical places in Washington D.C. with special guests. This week, Mike Wood visits the Martin Luther King, Jr monument with Tamara Rasberry, HR professional and expert in diversity and inclusion. They talk about what diversity and inclusion means today, and why opportunity and recognition must accompany them.
A Struggle for Recognition
CHRO at Globoforce, Steve Pemberton, said that recognition is the bridge between diversity and inclusion. Mike comments that at its core, the African American struggle through history has been a struggle for recognition. As she looks at the MLK monument, Tamara muses that African Americans still fight today for so many of the things that MLK fought for. “We still have so much work to do to achieve civil rights and equality for everyone,” she says. “Where can we start, and what can I do?”
There’s Always Hope
Mike asks if Tamara believes there is hope that things will be different for the younger generation. She responds that we always have to hope. Without hope you don’t have anything, she says. However, change is slow. We have to teach children the history and what their ancestors fought for, so that they understand why it’s important to take a stand and to treat everyone with dignity and respect even if they’re different from you.
Opportunity Must Come With Diversity and Inclusion
Tamara says that both her parents were usually one of the only black people at their jobs. As inspiring as their stories are, it points to the fact that opportunities were not the same for persons of color, otherwise there would have been more diversity. Even today, persons of color are not given equal opportunities, and are treated differently. Before someone will listen to you, Tamara points out, they first have to respect you. When you’re not respected because of your race or gender, your struggle to be heard is that much harder.
Mike asks Tamara to describe the difference between diversity and inclusion, and why inclusion should be at the forefront. Without inclusion, diversity means nothing, Tamara responds. Just having different ethnicities, genders and culture in your workplace is not enough, especially if they are not afforded the same opportunities or the same voice. All your employees should feel included, like they belong; they should not feel like they're outsiders because they're different.
Tamara Rasberry on LinkedIn