“Every year Community Inclusion Month is celebrated in October in communities across B.C. 2021 is the second year where we must celebrate with an ongoing pandemic. After months of isolation, we understand more deeply than ever the importance of being connected and being part of a community of friends and neighbours.”
October is Community Inclusion Month, and it is an excellent time to reflect and change the way we live in our communities. It’s also a great time to remind our communities that we all belong regardless of our race, orientation or abilities. We ALL have something to give in order to be active and welcome participants in the community. Belonging isn’t about tolerance, it’s about being missed when you are not there.
We thought we could give you a starting point, here are a few ways to begin your journey to make your community more inclusive!
1. Ask questions. Although this can be a little intimidating at first, it’s good to know how those around you communicate. Remember, you are trying to ensure that those around you feel comfortable to speak up and make sure their needs are being met. Openness is a key for having an inclusive environment. So, put the nerves aside and start talking!
2. Go back to the very beginning. List off reasons as to why you are doing this, and what you want everyone to benefit from it. This is about making sure no one feels left out in any way. When it comes to something such as benefits, if you are in a work environment, you will be able to ensure that the benefits are relevant and accessible to everyone, not just a select few.
3. Self-reflect! Oh yes, this can be the hardest thing to do sometimes. The first step to becoming more inclusive and open is to sort our your own biases and your preconceived notions about others. Once you realize where you stand, you’ll slowly be able to break down those barriers that you built around yourself and be open to learning! Think of it this way, once you gain more self-awareness, you will be more likely to understand how your verbal and non-verbal communications impact others.
Of course, this is all easier said than done, especially since we are quite stuck in our ways. But imagine how beneficial this first step will be, and how you will be able to create a better, safer and happier environment for all. You got this!