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Seeing the world through different lens: it's hard but possible with PulseWire!

A few years ago, I participated in a meeting held by Ocean Communicators Alliance, a group spearheading an ocean conservation campaign in California. When I entered the room, my identity as a minority was immediately clear, with the labels of “woman of color,” “immigrant” and “English language learner” the most obvious. These labels shouldn’t be barriers to working in the outdoor and environmental arenas, but they are – since the majority of these fields are typically white. I remember thinking, “Here we go again! I will probably have to speak up.”

Sure enough, I did. When the majority voted for “Code Blue” and “Turn the Tide” as our possible campaign slogans, I had to tell them that one in four Californians is a recent immigrant, and that we must choose a simple and easy message that communicates beyond the language barrier. I urged executives of the Alliance to use a language that would reach ALL Californians. Months later, they announced “Thank You Ocean” as our campaign slogan. I was relieved. At the same time, I realized how much work still needed to be done to bring multi-cultural perspectives into the white-dominated environmental and outdoor industry to make it more inclusive.

So, what are my present solutions to overcome these challenges and barriers?

As an environmental educator, I develop curriculum that is informed by the many cultures my students represent. I encourage our education department to provide trainings in multiple intelligence. I help create lessons for English language learners and students with different abilities. As a co-worker, I share these lessons with other educators and lead diversity trainings inside and outside of our community. As an employee, I urge our organization to hire people who represent all faces of America. As a woman of color, I manage a project I founded called “If She Can Do It, You Can Too: Empowering Women Through Outdoor Role Models.” Through this project, I bring success stories of diverse women outdoor role models to my community. I use my website and blog, as well as Facebook and YouTube channel, to share my project with the world. I speak publicly at organizations, companies and schools about how important it is for us to recognize institutional racism, sexism and inequality in our society. In my speech, I also stress how we need to learn to make decisions that support all voices to create a just world.

But this is not enough for me. With PulseWire, a large online community of women are sharing stories to educate each other. These stories provoke thought and raise awareness of our challenges in our society and encourage actions for change. This is the work I want to do on PulseWire. I want my project to educate others and lead to action. My most recent post on 'Action Alerts' is an example of change that I would like to create with PulseWire. I know that, with PulseWire, it is all possible!

Comments

vivian's picture

Yes, it is very possible with

Yes, it is very possible with pulseWire, Go sister, you will get there.

Vivian

''Every woman have a story at every stage of Life''

Ina Hume's picture

Well done

I really like the way you approach the importance of making messages for all people in maintaining the environment. Institutional racism is still a problem in every country where there are ethnic minorities. And this is a hugely important issue that needs tackling. I think that people like you, who challenge people's views of people from minority backgrounds, and show how capable women can be, and that far from being under-educated and needy, you are a proactive educator and independent woman. Your life and work is an example and this is a huge strength.

Well done and best wishes,

Ina

mihoaida's picture

Thank you!

Ina,

Thank you so much for this comment and compliments! I have been having a dialogue with other World Pulse member on institutional racism and how to tackle the issue with education and media - I love World Pulse - what a wonderful community and have someone like you!

Thank you for your encouragement and you, too, also make films and take photos to give voices for those who tend to be neglected from the society. I cheer for that! Good luck with your work with indigenous women in Bangladesh. I like your approach of encouraging them to join World Pulse to create a movement from the ground. I am sure you are a wonderful resource and great role model for these women to speak up.

Best wishes,

Miho

Miho Aida

jbaljko's picture

Good work

Hi,
I agree with Ina's comment, and appreciate how you are approaching this important, yet sensitive, issue. By taking a proactive stand - vs. a defensive one - you are both educating colleagues and creating broader awareness. Combined, that will bring a more effective and lasting change. Best of luck on the project you're working on - the world could use more role models like you. I'm looking forward to following you, and will click through your blog and website soon.
Best,
Jenn

"The secret of happiness is freedom,
and the secret of freedom, courage."
-Thucydides, ancient Greek historian & author

mihoaida's picture

Thanks!

Hi Jenn,

Thank you so much for this wonderful comment. I am naturally optimistic but with my project, I have been led to become an optimist with action, which equals to a proactive activist. I recognized that people respond this approach so much better, especially dealing with a sensitive issue. I didn't put this in the journal but another thing which helps people to respond better is to use a sense of humor when appropriate!

Thanks again and I would love if you can follow me on my blog, website or facebook!

Miho

Miho Aida

Jocelynbrazil's picture

Amazing

Wow. Thank you for your clarity and specificity. It really illuminated my own concept of institutional racism and also demonstrated such well thought out channels with which to influence change. I can't wait to read more of what you have to say!
Jocelyn

mihoaida's picture

Thanks!

Hi Jocelyn,

Thank you so much for this comment. I had a moment the other day when I was reading a journal entry on Pulse Wire by a deaf woman. She raised my awareness on how I can be more inclusive for deaf community when I create a documentary and post it on my YouTube channel. I am not a deaf, so I didn't think like a deaf person, but she used education as a tool to inspire me to see the world through an eye of a deaf person. When we have privilege, it is our nature to remain oblivious about it, but when you don't have the privilege, all the sudden you start seeing the world differently. It is easy for me to recognize institutional racism because it works against me. But this kind of issue is everywhere beyond racism and sexism.

I hope that we can continue to educate ourselves to become allies for those who need a support to build more inclusive community for all people and I know this will be a life-long work for all of us!

Good luck with your documentary in Brazil. Sounds amazing. Let me know when it's done and I would love to watch it.

Best,

Miho

Miho Aida

Manvitha's picture

Multicultural perspectives

Hi,

It's wonderful to come across your post and refreshing to see how you stress the importance of multicultural perspectives - in your case in environmental education. As I'm sure you already recognize, this is perhaps the hugest step forward for initiating peace or a peaceful dialogue for the future. It's great to see your entry about this and I look forward to reading and learning more about your work in the future!

Best,

Manvitha.

mihoaida's picture

Thank you!

Hi Manvitha,

Thank you so much for your comment and positive feedback! Yes, we can take many steps to educate ourselves to practice seeing the world through a different lens. In this case, I wrote about bringing multi-cultural perspectives to my community, and it has been a wonderful process to see how my co-workers and organization have grown to be more inclusive for multi-cultural students and staff. I am very hopeful - if this can happen at my work, then sure it can outside as well!

Miho

Miho Aida

jbaljko's picture

Love this idea...

Being a proactive activist with a sense of humor. How refreshing! Seems like such a simple idea, but at it's core, it comes down to mastering the art of being human - and that's not often an easy task.

"The secret of happiness is freedom,
and the secret of freedom, courage."
-Thucydides, ancient Greek historian & author

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