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Embracing Diversity

Embrace diversity in your life! These tips are all about exploring your community and embracing people and cultures that are different from your own.

Diversity: Individual and group differences including, but not limited to, differences in personality, political orientations, life experiences, learning styles, working styles, race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, culture, country of origin, religious affiliations, and viewpoints.

You don't have to travel far to learn about other cultures. Start in your own community! Go somewhere new, do something different and talk to people outside your social circle.

Seek out TV and movies from other countries. It will give you a new perspective and you might just find your next favourite show!

Recognize that there are many ways to do something. There is no right way, just different, and that's okay!

Everyone has unconscious biases. If a negative thought pops into your head, recognize it and ask yourself if it is accurate. Is it informed? How can I change it?

Try new foods! It's a great way to learn more about a culture. Think about and research why certain ingredients are so popular. Learn about what foods are culturally significant. What foods are cooked during holiday celebrations and why?

Are you in school right now? Follow the different cultural clubs at school. Keep an eye out for upcoming events they are hosting. This is a great opportunity to learn more.

Live in a big city? Check out Chinatown, Little Italy or other cultural areas to learn more about the people, food and customs. Explore and start conversations!

Sometimes embracing diversity starts from within. Think about the things that have shaped you and your beliefs. Then think about someone you know and the things that might have influenced their life differently than yours.

Feeling uncomfortable is OK! Getting outside of your comfort zone is hard work. Push through, and it will get easier as time goes on.

An important part of embracing diversity is being aware of where you are at to begin with. Start observing who is in the room, on TV, writing your articles, singing your songs. If they are primarily people similar to you, shake things up.

Add different holidays and celebrations from around the world to your calendar. On those days, research the food, activities and ceremonies associated with them and see if you can incorporate any of it into your day!

Make space for diversity. Our society is often set up to hear the perspectives of one group. Make sure to listen and make space for other voices.

Acknowledge your differences rather than ignoring or hiding them; better yet, value them! On the flip side, realize that although you may be different, you are probably similar in many ways! Find connection through these similarities.

Music can be used to tell stories, celebrate special occasions and connect people through sound. Explore different artists from other countries, cultures and genres.

Part of embracing diversity is ensuring that everyone has the same accessibility to get involved. If you witness injustice, ask (the under-represented group) what needs to be done and help make it happen.

Advocate for more diversity in your public spaces. Encourage your local library, museum or theatre to showcase more works by diverse artists.

Act as an ally by standing up when you hear unjust statements and facts about a group or individual.

Support small businesses in your community and learn about different cultures through their food and specialties!

Attend local festivals and cultural days in your community!

Perform random acts of kindness in your community. Holding a door or even a simple smile can go a long way!

Find a role model. It can be difficult and awkward to move out of your comfort zone. Find someone who does this well. Observe them, ask questions and attend events with them so you can expand your social circle.

Have a dinner party with your friends where you each bring a dish from a different country. Each person can give a couple interesting facts on the dish's country of origin!

When something is clearly biased, ask why. It will be helpful for you and the people around you to start investigating these differences.

Embracing diversity will expose you to new viewpoints and information. Getting to know people who are different than you will help you learn and grow.

Learn more about your own culture/background. What do you bring to the table?

Write down 3 things you have in common with someone who is different from you. Review your list. What do you notice about what you wrote down?

Be mindful of your language and how it affects others. Using inclusive language can help you be more open to different cultures, people, and ideas.