How Can We Create an Inclusive Community?


What does it mean to be radically welcoming? I attended two events this week that led me to think about this question. At one of the events we looked at advertisements to see what the images said to us about that company or product. We also looked at language and how at times it was inclusive and other times it was rather offensive. It became clear that without different perspectives represented around the table, many of the advertisers missed their mark.

Some of the ads looked like there was an attempt to be more inclusive, yet it looked more like a token individual was thrown in to make it look more appealing to a diverse audience. Other ads didn’t even try.

We talked about what the term radically welcoming means. The answers varied somewhat, but there was a theme of pushing ourselves to embrace the unknown or the different.

The second meeting I had this week that focused on radically welcoming communities was hosted at one of our new partners, The Frazer Center. We co-hosted a focus group with seven adults with developmental disabilities. We asked them what a world would look like if communities paid attention to those who are differently abled. It was eye-opening for me. The focus group was a pre-cursor to a larger meeting that we are co-hosting this coming Wednesday, May 22 at 6:30 PM at Frazer Center to talk about inclusive communities and equal access, specifically around enjoying nature. I hope you’ll consider joining us. You can find the details below.

So, this brings me to the question, WHERE can we be radically welcoming? We have control over our own home and can lead with a welcome mat for all. But does our behavior reflect the same graceful welcome? What about our place of work? Or our schools? Or our places of worship? How can they put out the radically inclusive welcome mat? Do they have the voices around the table that will bring in different perspectives about what that welcome should look like? Do the images used and the forms given out reflect acceptance or rigidness?

There are so many questions. I think the most important one is, what would it take for you to feel radically welcome in a space? Now, try asking that question to your neighbors, to your coworkers, to your students, to your customers, and even to your family members.

I hope some of you can make it on Wednesday evening to the Frazer Center. We will be hosting more of these inclusive conversations throughout the city.

I invite you to think about what radically welcoming means to you and leave you with a link to one of my favorite songs by Sweet Honey and The Rock: Would You Harbor Me?

I welcome your feedback,

Leanne Rubenstein 
Compassion Cultivator
Compassionate Atlanta

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