Let’s think diversity and global unity. Hopefully, many Ames residents are participating in the local 11 Days of Global Unity celebration. This celebration is “designed to increase public awareness about humanity’s major challenges and encourage involvement in the solutions.”

Thinking about the celebration brings to mind a variety of thoughts about all the people who ought to be considered. For me, some of my thoughts can be shared. Others will be kept secret. The celebration makes me think diversity.

Diversity carries with it meanings that are positive and negative. The meaning, most likely, depends on intent.

In celebrating 11 Days of Global Unity, I want to view diversity in a positive way. I want diversity to mean that individuals and groups of people are different; but the difference comes with the full understanding of the importance of acceptance of, and respect for, people who don’t look or act like you or me.

Diversity is about seeing differences and acknowledging the importance of how those differences may increase our ability to care about others and their plight. The ability to work for the good of all is a necessary part of sharing this great world. Our share of the world is better served by our understanding and accepting differences that add depth and breadth to our views about those who should be considered as worthy of sharing in the collective peace, justice and wealth that many parts of the world enjoy.

In my take on diversity and by extension unity, I want being a human to be the first measure of diversity. That is, being human means one is approached as “one of us, not one of those people.” Where one’s race, ethnicity or other characteristic would be the last points on which we make judgments.

Celebrating peace and justice becomes something we want all humans to share. Global Unity is for the entire world not just for us in Ames or Iowa or
the United States.

Celebrating Global Unity is a time to celebrate the best in all of us. Let this celebration be a way for us to rethink what diversity means and the impact that meaning has on others.

Starting in October, Ames residents will have an opportunity to participate in “Community Conversations on Building a Stronger Ames … Including Me!” These conversations will help us to get know our neighbors and start building unity here at home. I encourage you to take part in the conversations.

Contributed by Barbara Woods, Community Conversations on Diversity Committee