At our last monthly community meeting, RtR steering committee member Christine Moses led a discussion titled "A Design Thinking Approach to Belonging." During her presentation, Moses explained how creating a more welcoming and inclusive community for everyone requires us to be intentional in our efforts. Specifically, we have to think about the needs of marginalized people and design activities and approaches that meet those needs, as opposed to demanding that they simply fit into the way things are (i.e. Asking a Black person to either fit into a place nicknamed "Lake No Negro" or move somewhere else, as if that's a reasonable choice). Beyond just discussing this in the abstract, Moses had attendees jot down tangible ideas in response to three different prompts: 1) How can you become comfortable in a community you are not familiar with? 2) How can you be more welcoming in your own life to people not like you? 3) What event(s) and activities would you create to ensure community-wide engagement? Moses also challenged attendees to follow up on the suggestions they brainstormed and report back at our upcoming August meeting.
In the spirit of transparency, I've posted the lists below. Some may look at these suggestions and dismiss some of them as common sense, but I would caution those people to recognize that as long as these things aren't happening (Spoiler alert: on a large scare, they're not), then individuals in this community have an obligation to step up. As a person of color, there are few things as frustrating as going into meetings about equity and watching a table full of white people helplessly shrug their shoulders, claiming they have no idea what to do.
Consider the following lists the answers to the proverbial test. Don't say we didn't tell you.