Can We Really Change?

Being open to new ways of being and understanding, to living out our purpose more authentically, is essential work for our institutions. It is part imagination, part capacity-building, part urgent and part non-negotiable.

From DIGNITY, Beth-Sarah Wright

There is no doubt that institutions and communities of all types, especially educational communities have been faced with questions of authenticity in recent times. Are we doing what we say we are doing? Are we aligning our mission and our vision with our lived reality? The expressions of sincere hurt, dignity violations and experiences of not being seen at school communities around the nation by students of varying ethnicities, are clear indications that our schools are missing the mark. It is ironic that institutions committed to transforming students, find it so difficult to transform themselves when it comes to these very real and visceral challenges around race, identity politics and social justice.

It is not enough to claim an identity and then not refer to it regularly. There is danger in losing sight of our identity and settling back into the status quo. There is also danger in proclaiming it intermittently or only in response to a problem or some resistance. This is the very definition of deferred maintenance.

From DIGNITY, by Beth-Sarah Wright,

What has prevented us over the years from effectively addressing these issues? What has blinded us from seeing the real need for energy and focus around these realities? Why does it take a tragic event, visible to the world to jumpstart our focus inward? And then, what will we do with this inward gaze? Will it be sustained or will it return to the familiar and comfortable darkness we were cocooned in before? Can we really change? Can we really move the needle in a real and sustainable way? After all, isn’t this what we want in our institutions and communities?

The good news is, yes we can. And it begins with a willingness to engage in this difficult work of looking again at the shared human identity of dignity. When we begin here, we begin to see our communities differently. We see our corporate histories, our identities, our purpose, our capacity for change differently. And with the DIGNITY lens we will see and develop innovative solutions. The DIGNITY lens: a transformative, comprehensive set of seven strategies, each denoted by a letter in the word dignity, to look deep into our aspirational challenges and excavate means of bridging the gap between our aspirations and our current reality. Diversity. identity, Growth, Nurture. Integrity. Transparency and Yield. These seven tents are not linear and can start at any point; they can be implanted by anyone at any times in any place.

Join me in this difficult but necessary DIGNITY work. Be open. Be curious. Expand your diaphragm of vulnerability and exhale a new thought. No guilt. No shame. No condemnation. Look again, with me. Look again at DIGNITY!