4 ways to be a diversity champion!
20 June 2019
London is diverse and we love it. In this article, Maryam, a UCL student, talks about 4 ways you can be a diversity champion - or in other words - a Londoner!
As Londoners, very few things fill us with as much pride as our impeccable tea-making abilities do. However, when it comes to us being one of the most diverse cities in the world, we’re all cheering this fact on like loud, loving mothers at our 5-year-old’s football match. Nonetheless, if you’re embarking on your first stay in London and are yet to fully embrace all of its colours, here are a couple of tips to help you on your journey towards becoming a diversity champion.
1. Get to know your neighbour
This first one sounds a little elementary, dear Watson, but ask yourself this: how well do you actually know your neighbours? What’s more, how involved are you in your community? Going out and experiencing the diverse range of cultures and people that London is home to builds bridges where gaps may lie. Getting to know one another shapes our understanding of our world for the better. We become more tolerant, happier societies when everyone feels and is included. So, the next time you’re watering your beyond-withered flower beds, take some time to strike up a conversation with the people next door. Or, if you don’t like nature (we’ll work on this another time), you could do this at your local shops, on university campus, or even in your community centre (they are almost always looking for volunteers!).
2. Be open minded
At some point in your life, you’re going to experience a certain thing that may seem a little ‘alien’ to you. Whether that be a cultural or religious practice, the way someone dresses, or even just the fact that your new roommate poured the milk in her cereal bowl before the actual cereal; there will come a day when you experience something for the very first time. And that is okay. What matters most in these situations isn’t the difference itself, but, rather, how you deal with it. Being open minded brings us closer together. It spreads love and acceptance, and reminds us of the beauty that lies within our differences. So, the next time you see something you’re not entirely familiar with, go forth and expose yourself to it. You’re almost guaranteed to learn something wonderful.
3. Be mindful of others
It’s no secret that the way we treat others directly affects the way they feel. Being kind to others, asking them thoughtful questions, and accepting unfamiliar practices prevents situations that can cause offence… something that can end up isolating individuals from society and much worse. BUT DO NOT FEAR, you can avoid this by simply taking the time to educate yourself on different cultures and lifestyles. A quick internet search can do wonders with this. (I recommend reading through blogs written by authors from ethnic minority backgrounds).
4. Bring your own story
Lastly, if there’s one thing that you need to know, it’s that London loves and welcomes you, regardless of who you are, who you love, or where you come from. Diversity makes London the vibrant, unique, and multicultural place that it is. Here, there is something for everyone and a home for all. So welcome aboard, my friend, ‘tis an absolute pleasure to get to know you and your story better.
Maryam Clark, UCL Student, PhD in Bioscience