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In the Spotlight

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday inclusiveness at CPTC

Greetings CPTC Community,

It’s almost that festive time of the year again and on behalf of the CPTC Diversity Committee we would like to send out the below message on holiday inclusiveness.

Our campus has a fascinatingly diverse population, and we want everyone here to feel welcome and comfortable, including all employees and students. This is especially true during this holiday season, so the Diversity Committee has put together some suggestions for helping folks from all of our various backgrounds to feel included in the holiday spirit.

It used to be that being inclusive meant sending out politically correct "Happy Holidays" greeting cards and changing Christmas office parties to "holiday parties." Today, going beyond just changing labels and titles, celebrating diversity and inclusiveness is about using celebrations to build mutual understanding and enjoyment.

These suggestions are intended to promote tolerance and respect for the diversity that exists at CPTC and to remind members of the campus community of ways they can embrace their own holiday traditions and beliefs while still respecting those of others. The suggestions aim to help make our workplace festive and fun without valuing one holiday tradition over another.

  • Consider decorating public spaces and offices with seasonal inclusive items like snowflakes, snowmen, ribbons, boughs, stars, and seasonal flowers/berries, instead of holiday-specific items that may carry meaning only for those who hold certain beliefs.
  • Remember that neutral symbols don’t have to be somber. Be creative in making the celebration a unifying activity and not one that highlights differences.
  • Inclusion, when done right, doesn’t take away anyone’s rights or personal rights or beliefs. A good rule of thumb is to walk through your area as your customers would: the areas they see are public and should be inclusive.
  • Your desk may be a more personal space, and can represent your personality and personal values.  But your valuing of inclusion and diversity should be reflected even when decorating personal space.
  • Trying to represent decorations from multiple religious groups still risks offending those who are unintentionally left out. There are hundreds of different faiths, celebrations, and beliefs.

The Diversity Committee wishes you a wonderful holiday season!

References:
“Building Workplace Equality: Ethics, Diversity & Inclusion” Nelarine Cornelius
http://www.diversityinc.com/article/6988/Culturally-Competent-Guide-to-Holidays-in-the-Workplace/
http://humanresources.about.com/od/diversity/a/holiday_diverse.htm
http://www.listeningforachange.org/pdfs/2007_Fall_Winter.pdf


Sheli Sledge
Diversity Committee Chair
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