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  • Writer's pictureCyrah Warren, University of Oklahoma

The Path to DEIB

Imagine being given a piece of paper, a few pencils and pens, and some scissors and told to illustrate the path to achieving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) in the workplace. Then, given no other instructions, you’d begin imagining what this path looks like or, if you’re an optimist like me, what it should look like.

I found myself in this scenario when I attended a workshop with the National Millennial and Gen Z Community on our Washington, D.C. trip. At the beginning of the workshop, we learned about the history of DEIB. We then heard from some guest speakers, Dr. Ed Timke, Dr. Kevin Thomas, and Dr. Jean Grow, who discussed their personal experiences (good and bad) with DEIB. Finally, the group had to visualize and illustrate the road to achieving DEIB in the workplace. While others took abstract creative liberties, I opted for a more literal approach.

The path I wanted to see to achieve DEIB was a straight line; this illustration of a single road marked with each principle of DEIB shows that we have to all be on the same path and strive for one goal to attain belonging in the workplace. I was nervous when creating my drawing and maybe a little self-conscious. I was questioning whether or not anyone would get what I was trying to say with the picture.

After everyone finished, we were allowed to ask our peers questions about our art. For example, I drew only one straight road when the path to DEIB can go in so many different directions, and many different ways lead to the same goal. My response was, “Well, in order to achieve these goals, should we not all be taking the same path or working together to get there?”

Even though the presentation earlier in the day said that the path to DEIB is not linear, it was just how my mind thought of it. I realized then that not a single person drew what I did, but no one’s work matched someone else’s either. We all think differently based on our diverse backgrounds and opinions. Some people even decided to draw multiple different paths to achieving DEIB!

The experience was a fun way to take us out of our comfort zones while also enjoying something light-hearted to slightly dim the modern world’s stress. It also allowed us to bond as a group and get a glimpse into others’ thought processes. I’ve learned that I am not only a terrible artist but that the path to DEIB can be a road or a beautiful origami piece, a drawing of a house, helping hands, nature, etc. There is no right path to take to achieve belonging in the workplace. Instead, you nurture Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to obtain Belonging, so as long as we all can visualize a path, I believe we can get there.


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