Kiawah’s Role in Helping to Make a Change: Diversity and Inclusion
Celebrating the Diversity of The Lowcountry
Charleston, one of our dearest neighbors, is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in all of the Lowcountry. As a community with a diverse population, it’s important to understand the racial injustices that are happening not just in our community, but all over the world. Any sort of change toward moving away from these inequities starts with awareness, mindfulness, and the commitment to taking action.
Learn more about what you can do to support your immediate community and beyond, and how The Kiawah Island Club and Real Estate, through the Advance Kiawah initiative, are working towards making a change.
What is Diversity?
Diversity is the understanding of varying demographics, ethnicities, socioeconomic differences, sexual orientations, religious associations, personality types, political beliefs, and physical abilities that make up the world’s population. More specifically, there is an entire spectrum of these differences that exists among individuals across every nation.
Although diversity was once mostly applied to gender and ethnicity — we now realize it actually includes innumerable identifiable factors. Each of these identifiers go on to contribute to a culture, which a person expresses through customs, art, social institutions, and collective behaviors.
What is Inclusion?
Inclusion is the process of providing an environment that allows all individuals to feel respected, valued, accepted, and encouraged to freely participate within the same one community.
The goal is to accomplish an inclusive environment where the voices of everyone can be encouraged, heard, valued and understood. People of all backgrounds should also feel safe and secure in such a community. To accomplish a truly inclusive environment, every individual should be able to feel a sense of belonging, which you can do so by encouraging them to act and behave as their authentic selves.
A Barrier to Inclusivity: Unconscious Bias
Through Advance Kiawah, we hope to bring awareness on how to achieve diversity and inclusivity in our community. Bear in mind, there is a significant barrier against inclusivity that many people do not fully understand — or even recognize — within themselves. Every person carries some level of biases, and these typically stem from a combination of individual experiences, backgrounds, cultural and religious orientations, and your environment. They then go on to contribute to forming their values, beliefs, and way of thinking.
In order to remove unconscious biases, they must first be challenged. Spend time focusing on becoming self-aware and conscious of what drives your decisions, motives, and actions. If you do not challenge your own biases, you may unconsciously continue to relate with people from a position of unconscious bias — which will continue the cycle of establishing barriers against diversity and inclusion.
How to Push Yourself and Your Community Forward
1. Learn to be aware of our unconscious biases
Be mindful of any assumptions you make about how others look, think, and act differently than you do. Do you notice yourself questioning someone’s intentions? Or avoiding certain groups of people? Stop to think why you feel that way. The answer may go as far back as your childhood.
2. Listen and learn from others
Make it a point to speak to others who are different than yourself. When was the last time you did? Charleston and all of the Lowcountry are filled with wonderful people from virtually everywhere in the world. Take a moment to speak with them about their experiences, and their ancestor’s experiences. In the meantime, start working on yourself from home, and gather informative resources to encourage further listening. Start with the Slavery to Civil Rights Self-Guided Tour Book.
3. Attend and create events that encourage diversity
Open yourself up to other cultures and their beautiful traditions. Doing so will promote positive interactions within your community. Take an expert-guided tour to explore African American history and culture, along with the endless injustices they endured. Gullah tours provide insight into the Lowcountry’s first African American language, which is still thriving today! In the end, this will foster an inclusive environment where others will feel at ease to be themselves around you.
4. Uplifts others in your own community
You can start by letting others be heard. For example, the next time a friend asks for a recommendation on where to purchase a gift, point them to one of the many incredible minority-owned businesses in the Lowcountry.
The Ways Kiawah Island Real Estate is Working Toward Change
As a response to current events, Advance Kiawah was concepted to initiate change within our own communities. Its purpose is to expand diversity and promote meaningful and lasting change. Following professional training to identify the inherent biases and inequities existing within the community today, the Island’s leadership have developed committees to finetune goals and devise a plan to reach them. As a whole, we wish to establish a comprehensive, informed, and lasting strategy — a collective effort that could catalyze real change and eventually take on a life of its own.
So, are you with us?
Begin by supporting those in your local community to celebrate Kiawah and Charleston’s intricately diverse population. This is just the beginning, and to continue the movement, we would love to connect with you to hear your thoughts on how we can transform Kiawah for the better. Connect with us via the button below.