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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.
Welcome from Director Upson
WHY DIVERSITY MATTERS
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
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.
to view the original publication.
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