Diversity Message

This is Scott Cullen-Benson and as many of you know, I grew up in a rural area in NE Ohio.  Being of a certain age, I grew up at a time and in a part of the country where the only religious holidays that were recognized and celebrated were Christian.  Exposure to other cultures and exposure to other spiritual beliefs wasn’t thought to be necessary.  After all, there was only one True religion recognized by all authority where I grew up, so recognition of anything else was practically blasphemy.  

My exposure to other cultures and religious practices when I left my isolated small town for University was like Dorothy opening the door of her cyclone battered home and encountering the Land of Oz for the first time.  Seeing all that Technicolor after the dullness of black and white left me feeling like there just might be someplace other than home!

Two of those Technicolor holidays are celebrated in October.   

Yom Kippur
begins the evening of October 8th and ends in the evening of October 9th.  Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for those in the Jewish Faith.  It means “Day of Atonement” and is dedicated to introspection, prayer and asking G-d for forgiveness.  It also contains the admonition to make changes for the coming year that improve life for all.

October 27th in the Hindu, Sikh and Jain religions is the start of the five-day celebration of Diwali, which is the “festival of lights.”  This day celebrates the triumph of light over dark and good over evil, and the blessings of victory, freedom and enlightenment.  

As all of us have become more aware and appreciative of other cultures and religious practices, may we all consider how we can show appreciation for these diverse cultures, especially in our workplaces.  I would encourage each of us to make our employers aware of the diversity of cultural and religious celebrations and explore with our employers ways to celebrate these occasions.  

Many religious practices (although not all, of course) are at heart celebrations and as we become more aware of the diversity around us I would encourage all of us to explore ways in which we can acknowledge the Technicolor in all of us.

"NIEAPA members shall seek to develop an awareness of their own personal and cultural values and beliefs as one way of appreciating the importance of multicultural identities in our own lives and in the lives of those we serve.  NIEAPA members shall have and continue to develop specialized knowledge and understanding about the values, traditions and systems of all employees at the workplaces they serve."

Northern Illinois Chapter Employee Assistance Professionals Association (NIEAPA)

Address: 400 E. Randolph #2305, Chicago. IL 60601Phone: +1 (312) 756-7756
Email: nieapa@corpevent.com

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