Nikki McGruder, regional manager for Diversity Awareness Partnership and director of the Journey towards Inclusive Excellence, Columbia, MO (originally from Peoria, IL.)
I’m am often asked about how I can do the work that I do
in diversity and inclusion without being affected. The
reality is that there is no way to do this work and not be
impacted. Especially being a woman of color and all the
intersections that make me who I am.
I respect all beliefs, but I personally believe in the power
of prayer and I know that God helps me keep it together.
I often share my story of growing up as a little Black girl
in a small community and what those experiences of
often times being the “only” in the room felt like.
It wasn’t until I was in my adulthood that I realized how
internally oppressed I was and how that oppression
controlled me. I had bought into the narrative that
society provided for me about who I was and used many
of my lived experiences to validate that oppression.
Not anymore. I can do this work because this work needs
to be done. Not only that…I am raising children in this
world. My children…Our children should not have to
inherit a world where they have to dim their lights to
make others feel comfortable. They will be their
authentic selves walking in their truths all day every day.
For that reason…I persist.