In our beautifully diverse world, celebrating the differences within marginalized communities serves as a powerful bridge, connecting people, places, and vocations. Supporting and listening to these communities entails recognizing that it may require stepping outside of our own experiences and being open to the possibility of making mistakes and owning up to them in our connections. However, this should not deter us from offering our support in personalized ways. Instead, it presents an opportunity for growth, learning, and fostering deeper connections with our fellow diverse humans who have unique experiences from us. Let’s explore the tip of the iceberg where we will learn how offering support and listening with humility can strengthen marginalized communities and contribute to a more inclusive and empathetic society.

In the ways farming is best when tailored to individual plants and how those plants best interact with each other is also similar to how our care needs to approach people from queer and BIPOC communities needing support to thrive in the space of generational gatekeeping. In the way regenerative farming gives back to our soil and fruits, so too does social equity and inclusivity give way to growth and sustainability in our collective communities we have yet to see in over 100 years. This is a reminder that every person has the ability to nourish the communities we individually interact with, and in this way support the regenerative community efforts of BIPOC, Queer and marginalized groups.

Embracing Humility

Stepping outside our individual experience and supporting marginalized communities involves acknowledging that our own experiences may not fully align with theirs. It requires us to step outside our comfort zones and embrace humility. Recognizing that we may make mistakes along the way is an essential aspect of this journey. By approaching these situations with an open mind and heart, we create space for growth and understanding. Humility allows us to learn from our errors, adjust our perspectives, and deepen our connections with diverse communities.

Active Listening

Learning from different experiences through active listening is a vital component of supporting marginalized communities. It involves genuinely seeking to understand the experiences, perspectives, and needs of others. By actively listening, we can gain insight into the challenges and triumphs faced by these communities, which in turn enables us to provide more effective support. This process requires setting aside preconceived notions and embracing the opportunity to learn something new. Engaging in meaningful conversations and asking questions with respect and curiosity fosters empathy and strengthens our relationships with others.

Growth through Learning

Embracing mistakes with humility in order to truly support marginalized communities necessitates accepting that mistakes may occur along the way. Representation doesn’t end with a flag or sign, it requires active listening, active participation and active support. However, making mistakes does not mean support should be withdrawn. Instead, it is an opportunity for growth and learning. When we embrace our errors with humility, we can listen, learn, and adapt our approach to better align with the needs of marginalized communities. By acknowledging our missteps and committing to continuous learning, we demonstrate a genuine commitment to supporting and uplifting diverse voices not just in our businesses and places of work, but in our communities, local restaurants, entertainment centers, and religious places of communion.

Unity through Shared Humanity

Celebrating differences and commonalities is an important part of strengthening our bonds and community goals. As we actively support and listen to marginalized communities, it is important to celebrate both their differences and commonalities with our own experiences. Recognizing and valuing the uniqueness of each individual’s journey promotes a culture of inclusivity and understanding. It is through this celebration of diversity that we build bridges of empathy, fostering deeper connections and promoting unity. By embracing the richness of our collective humanity, we create a space where everyone feels seen, heard, and respected.

All people are seeking connection of some form. The most supportive forms of connection don’t require sameness, they embrace and celebrate the differences and the things that each person knows more about than us.

Overall, supporting marginalized communities requires us to step outside what we’ve experienced, what we’ve been raised by, what our parents modeled for us in their limited experiences, and what our anxieties have been cultivating in place of open-hearted space for connection. We can all practice allowing ourselves to be humbled, and actively listening with the intention to understand where our personal power is the key for someone else to open the door many have shut in their face. It is a journey that may involve making mistakes that hurt us and hurt those we want to support, but these missteps present opportunities for growth and learning how to heal, how to grow back stronger. By embracing humility and acknowledging our own limitations, we foster empathy, deepen connections, and contribute to the strength and inclusivity of marginalized communities. Let us approach our interactions with diverse individuals and communities with an open heart, ready to learn, grow, and celebrate the beautiful tapestry of humanity together.

This year of Pride and celebrating Juneteenth (the day freed slaves in Texas were finally told of their freedom 2 years after the fact) you can be the person that uplifts your community and shows and speaks of the good you want to foster in your actions everywhere you find inclusivity and equity is still lacking not just during the calendar-marked days of celebration. The opportunities will be endless, so don’t be overwhelmed. If we each are accountable for the pieces we can cut, the pie will come together with the most incredible nuances and sweet teachings we won’t find anywhere else. 

Healing our planet will also mean healing ourselves and our communities that inhabit this earth. So take a moment to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the fields, and look to where you can sow seeds of openness and support for diversity to enrich each other’s lives. 

Ada Quevedo – Secretary of Standing Committee for Social Equity