Every living thing relies on diversity to survive. Based on the research of Mendel, Wallace, Darwin, and the biological scientists who followed, we understand that widespread variation is a large part of the evolutionary process of absolutely everything in the natural world. We know that there needs to be an array of genetic material for successful reproduction and survival.
When you replicate the concept of evolution into a non-biological application - the same holds true. We need diversity in every aspect of our lives to allow for meaningful personal connections and ultimate success for the entire group.
Yes, this all sounds super high brow and academic (unlike the typical pieces you receive from me) - but I would like you to take a moment to consider how our homogenized, milky white societal ideals have been detrimental to so many - for so long.
Through highly effective propaganda, for a good portion of modern history, we (humans of every stripe) have learned to despise (and fear) the "other" for a variety of made-up reasons. (See the definition of propaganda here. I don't generally use Wikipedia - but this provided a pretty representative definition.)
Therefore, when something very different or new from what we are accustomed to pops up in places - that we frequent, we may feel uncomfortable, startled, or even afraid. This is exactly the desired response and the result of all of that unconscious, subliminal training.
I work with many neurodiverse children - a good number on the spectrum, some with ADHD - and more than a few undiagnosed. I don't actually care about the official diagnosis - because, in the end, we (the DRC staff) recognize the amazing gifts every child brings to the group and we love spending our days with them.
The thing I do care about is the reason why so many neurodivergent kids seek out DRC. I believe that the people in the system they came from feel uncomfortable, do not know how to interact, and do not fully appreciate their talents and uniquely wonderful way of thinking. For these reasons, these kids are, quite literally, forced to change themselves to fit into this homogenized world I spoke of earlier. And, if they don't (or can't), they are frequently admonished or punished. Indeed, Pavlov's methodology isn't just used for animals. Therefore, understandably, they are unhappy, disenfranchised, and anxious, and seek out other educational environments.
When we neglect to openly invite (and remove barriers for everyone to participate), especially those who have diverse ways of thinking and being (not only folks with ASD or any of the other "disorders") into our personal spheres, we are actively traumatizing human beings while ultimately inhibiting societal growth, change, and possibly (probably) our own survival.
Diversity is not a talking point. It can't be achieved by hiring a "Diversity Officer," or implementing token policies and meaningless training sessions. It is deeply entrenched in the basic human need for connection and engagement. And the only way it will happen on a large scale is if every one of us welcomes, into our personal world, those who are not typically allowed a place at the table.
Ultimately culture will only change and grow through inclusionary practices and by exterminating misinformation, our reasons for fearing the other, and unimaginative thinking.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Both Centers are on Spring Break this coming week. However, fundraising efforts are still very much on our agenda.
Find the Color Street fundraiser here. We have had several vendor registration forms submitted for our Party in the Park over the past few days. If you know anyone with a side hustle or small business who would like to promote themselves and have some fun with us on May 21st- please share this link with them. We are also seeking food trucks and local musicians. Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are still collecting bottles and cans - bring them to 48 Riverside Dr. in Canton and place the bags in front of the garage.
I am sending this out a day early to catch those of you celebrating Passover, Easter, or all the delights of Spring this weekend.
Best wishes from the entire DRC Crew!