The National Millennial Community took to Los Angeles, California to visit CBS, Warner Bros., Disney/ABC Television Group, Nestlé USA, Rogers & Cowan, and Walt Disney Imagineering to prove that it takes nothing more than respect and a conservation to bring a community back together. Don’t be fooled, these two thoughts can be difficult to conjoin, but the beauty derived from our success has been nothing but remarkable.
The team of 30 members started on Wednesday (1/25) in our first meeting with CBS. We jumped right into our main topic: diversity and inclusion. Although we all come from different backgrounds and parts of the country, it was mutually agreed upon that diversity is key to success in any company, and is valued in high regard by any current employee or job seeker. Without diversity, the finished products would be one dimensional, restricting the potential for further creativity and innovation.
We also tackled the concept of transparency and the role that it plays in having a diverse and inclusive workplace. As young employees, we want to see the higher-ups in our company take initiatives towards being more diverse. But, we do not want them to simply speak to us from the top down, we value the effort to work with us on a level that we can all relate to and understand.
After CBS, our conversation continued at Warner Bros. Pictures Entertainment on Thursday morning. At Warner Bros., we dove more into what companies can do to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. Whether through workshops or making opportunities for employees to experience other cultures, there was a lot of advice given about not only being inclusive, but also working through unconscious bias. Throughout the rest of our visits on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning, we truly succeeded in communicating our message that diversity is more than race and gender; it is cultural, educational, socioeconomic, age and mindset. A strong company will understand all these aspects of diversity and use them to build a successful workplace where many of us hope to work one day.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is just one example of how we can use a respectful conversation to affect greater change. While in LA, we suggested to many companies that they should talk to their employees, experience other cultures, and make a conscious effort to understand them. This doesn’t need to be done in an office only, it can be done every day in society. Sit down and get to know someone and ask them why they believe a certain belief, but do so with an open mind and without expectation to share your own beliefs. Sit down to listen, not to contradict. Take the time to experience another culture and you will begin to experience something new you can understand. Once society can begin to do this collectively, a bridge to unify us as a country and as humans will emerge, starting a movement to truly change the world.
Before joining the National Millennial Community and before embarking on my first trip with the team, I had given myself a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. This meant that during my life from when I began forming my opinions politically and non, I wouldn’t ask people about theirs and I wouldn’t tell people about mine. I was afraid. I was afraid of hearing something I would not agree with, I was afraid of telling someone something other than what they wanted to hear. I was convinced that it was too difficult to have respectful conversation so I did not try, but this started to change as I entered college and as I joined the National Millennial Community. If I took anything away from our Los Angeles trip that will be applied to my life here on out it would be this: our community is made up of so many diverse backgrounds and beliefs, yet we are able to talk to one another with respect and kindness. It is not wrong to believe in something different than someone else, but do not look past other people's beliefs or culture because it is not your own. I am by no means saying you must accept it, because realistically no one will ever accept everything. Yet, every day try to understand someone else and respect them the best you can, and the acceptance will follow with time. We will not only grow as a individuals, but we can also grow as a nation.