By Jeroen Robbe
This activity makes visible the margins of the group and aims to support group members to feel seen and welcomed.
With this short activity (10-15 minutes) you welcome a group into the space, by going through and naming different identities and aspects of our experience.
This short activity works well as part of container building activities for a group, as well as it serves as a powerful inclusivity tool. It won’t fix the problems that might arise in the group around inclusivity or equity but it will lay foundations for building a culture of respect and solidarity.
How Does This Tool Support Leaderful Movements?
This activity makes visible the margins of a group and intends to make everyone feel seen and welcomed. It is a form of active intention setting for the space and an expression of values. As a facilitator or organizer, you have power to influence and guide group culture. This activity will help you to start shaping a leaderful organizing culture towards values of solidarity, inclusion and equity in the group.
This tool belongs to the “values” area in the leaderful organizing competency framework. On an individual level it supports grounding into core values of equality, justice, shared belonging and being inclusive, while at the level of a group starting of with a diversity welcome roots us in the commitment to practice active solidarity.
You can find a session plan for “diversity welcome” here. (see pgs 264 – 266).
Some key notes:
If you can get some information about the participants’ backgrounds and identities in advance of the session/training, that will help you frame your Diversity Welcome, but you can also carry it out without knowing much about the group. If you know that some particular minority will be present on the training or that there is a certain margin in the group you will be working with – make sure you mention them in the Welcome.
Diversity Welcome will happen at the very beginning of the session or training – you can just smoothly go into it as you are welcoming people in the room, once everyone is there and settled. It is up to you if you want to do it as a very first thing or after some initial practicalities.
The more you are able to speak to the group and look at them (rather than read from your notes), the better – it creates more connection and makes the opening more heartfelt. Make sure you make the text of the Welcome as much ‘yours’ as possible and that it does not feel like reading a list, but a genuine welcome to all of the mentioned parts of the groups’ diversity.
Make pauses after some of the parts of the Welcome, so that participants can add things and actively encourage them to do so every now and then (‘Is there anything else?’ ‘Is there any other language present in the room?’ etc)
Make sure you don’t rush it, it is meant to be repetitive and spacious. It often creates a sense of tenderness and can be moving to the group. Give it space and enjoy it!
- Diversity Welcome from Training for Change
- More tools from the Leaderful Organising Collection
- Working in Groups: Start Here
- Justice, Diversity & Inclusion: Start Here
- Writing a Solidarity Statement: Considerations and Process Questions