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!