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The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs is committed to serving and assisting all underserved citizens across West Virginia and developing innovative ways to address issues affecting minority populations through conversation, education, leadership, and collaboration. 

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 Written by Director Jill Upson for DTCWV Defender, Summer Edition 2019, Volume V
     What does it really mean to embrace diversity? I have heard the idea posited that if we are focusing on diversity, then we are placing value on skin color. Allow me to explain why diversity means so much more.
     Those of us who are passionate about public service tend to be problem-solvers by nature. Likewise, successful managers of businesses must be able to identify and solve a multitude of problems in their daily operations. Problems can only begin to be solved by first recognizing that they exist. Diversity of experience, background, and thought opens up a broader and more complete breadth of information on which
governments and workplaces can more effectively address societal and institutional problems. 
     In addition to problem-solving, diversity can act as an essential barometer by which we can measure appropriate and productive behavior in both professional and social settings. I recently had a long conversation with a black man who called my office to inquire about an upcoming Listening Tour stop in his city. During our discussion, he recounted an incident at his job in which a co-worker placed chicken bones on his desk. Perhaps this was a misguided attempt at humor. Perhaps it was rooted in prejudice. Either way, I suspect that this individual was lacking meaningful interactions with people who were different from him/her. It is clear to me that the gentleman who contacted my office is still troubled by this event that happened early in his career. It illustrates the deep and long-lasting wounds that can be created when diversity is absent.
     Finally, being deliberate about attracting diversity into our sphere only adds perspective, fullness, and richness while taking none of these away. The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs uses its resources and reach to build bridges and facilitate interpersonal dialog on behalf of all of West Virginia's underrepresented populations. Please join us in experiencing the added value that fully embracing diversity brings. 
Click here to view the original publication. 

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