How can we work together to create more inclusive spaces? CultureALL is about to transform the way diversity education is done in Iowa. And we are starting with ourselves.
We know our programs are effective for helping to spark kids’ curiosity about other cultures. We know that helping students to better understand the cultures of their fellow students helps to improve the school climate and create a more supportive learning environment for students of every culture. But we want to go deeper in making CultureALL programs a true catalyst for change in our community.
On May 16 we hosted a professional development session exclusively for CultureALL Ambassadors and staff. Dr. Daniel Spikes of Iowa State University revealed how we all have been socially programmed to put certain people in roles of power and others into oppression.
Understanding Cultural Bias to Create Inclusive Spaces
“ . . . no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough.” – LeBron James, May 31, 2017
Diversity work is complicated and messy – and something we all need to work on. Every human being comes in with basic assumptions built from past experience. Dr. Spikes guided us through his research and brought it to life with his own personal stories to help us see the role every one of us plays in perpetuating these stereotypes and privileges.
More than a dozen CultureALL Ambassadors representing 9 different cultures attended the workshop. Many Ambassadors use storytelling in their presentations, and Dr. Spikes’ workshop showed them the power that personal stories can have in making connections and building understanding and trust across cultures. For some Ambassadors, it triggered new ideas about how they can incorporate more of their own stories into their CultureALL workshops.
This session – and the ones that will follow – are preparing CultureALL Ambassadors to become industry leaders skilled with the practical knowledge and experience to reprogram society’s cues about privilege and oppression. Our work with students, educators, corporate employees, and seniors will provide opportunities for Iowans to practice more inclusive behaviors in every interaction.
Developing Our Family of CultureALL Ambassadors
In the coming year, CultureALL will be focused on helping our family of CultureALL Ambassadors to become change-makers for our community. This includes:
- Recruiting additional Ambassadors from cultures not yet represented
- Providing additional professional development training for our Ambassadors
- Talking with educators, businesses, and community leaders about how we can work together to break down barriers to inclusion
- Refreshing current programs – and creating new ones – that can have greater impact on the serious issues facing our diverse community
- Developing tools to more effectively measure the impact of the work we do, so that we can share it with others.
This is a process that requires staff time and resources. We cannot accomplish this important work alone – and YOU can help.
Your tax-deductible contribution now will help provide the critical training our Ambassadors need as we continue our journey as the premiere provider of cultural education programming and diversity education in Iowa.
Increase the value of your support by donating now through the Principal Charity Classic Birdies for Charity program and your contribution will be matched by 10%.
We’d like to thank all of the CultureALL Ambassadors who set aside time to do this important professional development. And we are so grateful to Dr. Spikes who showed his courage and commitment to lead the way.