After the mosque attacks in March, it became painfully clear how important it is to be inclusive. It made me think about how most of my acquaintances look similar to me. This is not on purpose, I must add! I have some great friends from completely different backgrounds to me. Which makes me think I should get out and meet more people from different walks of life, because there is a good chance there are some more great friends out there, just waiting to be met.
In the immediate aftermath I made a concerted effort to smile at people from minority groups, as I wanted them to feel welcome here in their own country. I also keep reminding myself that this extends to everyone. Someone might be from a different socioeconomic group to you, or dress or express themselves in a different way. Just because this isn't something you would do is not a reason to judge people. It's so easy to create a snap judgement in your mind, so I try to replace anything that sneaks in with 'Isn't it great that they are...' to reframe that judgement into something positive.
Unfortunately these kinds of attacks keep occurring, as there is a group of people who think everyone should be just like them, and doesn't want to celebrate diversity at all. I find it really sad how narrow-minded these people are. In order to counter that, and capture the sentiment that sprung up after the March attacks, I created a series of decals designed to promote inclusion and diversity. I also wanted to help out the Muslim community who were so devastatingly affected by the attack, so I am donating 50% of proceeds of the sales to the The Christchurch Foundation's 'Our People, Our City' fund. I included each of the phrases in Arabic, Māori and English to show unity.
It's a bit like global warming. One person's actions are gong to change the world by themselves, but collectively we can make big changes. We just need lots of people doing lots of little things. I'd love to hear what you do to be more inclusive of others!