A Healthy Dose of DEI: Making Space for Ramadan
Be Intentional In Your Learning
When I first started facilitating DEI training, I made many mistakes! I recall facilitating a training session with a tech company with different types of diversity- racial, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, etc. I was facilitating a 3-day training for their entire staff. The second day of the training was the first day of Ramadan. At the time, I was completely unaware.
Immediately following the announcement of the upcoming training via a calendar invite, my inbox was on fire! Bing! Bing! Bing! Bing! Message after message from employees asking how I could be so unaware. It wasn't just that the training was taking place, but we were scheduled to have a series of 'lunch and learns' where staff would eat their lunch while participating in the training.
Needless to say, I was oblivious to this religious holiday and what it meant for many members of staff. During Ramadan, observers fast from dawn to dusk. Ironically, I was facilitating diversity and inclusion training and was excluding a portion of the staff. If I knew more about this important holiday, I would have done a few things differently.
I share this story for 2 reasons:
1. We aren't born experts! No one is expecting you to know everything about everyone and you will make mistakes. Give yourself permission to learn through doing and give grace when you get it wrong.
2. Be intentional in your learning and unlearning to get to a true place of inclusion. There's no magic spell for getting to a place of knowing and understanding. It's about the everyday little moments where you take a minute to read an article about another community; watch a movie with characters different from you; have conversations with people from a different background.
That's why I'm so passionate about A Healthy Dose of DEI and Through A DEI Lens book club. Both provide small, yet monumental, moments to learn. By consistently engaging in this lifestyle of continuous learning, you will make progress toward inclusion of diverse groups.
In this week's newsletter, we learn about Ramadan; the teen mental health crisis; being open-minded; and more.
Thanks for going on this journey with us! We're glad you're here!
Read. Watch. Listen
Resources to Learn More!
Why Ramadan is the most sacred month in Islamic culture
"Every year, Muslims around the world anticipate the sighting of the new crescent moon that signifies the official first day of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the most sacred month in Islamic culture.
The start of Ramadan fluctuates each year because the lunar Islamic calendar follows the phases of the moon. The beginning and end of Ramadan are determined by a moon sighting committee in Saudi Arabia. It begins the day after the committee spots the new crescent moon, which can be tricky since it’s quite faint and can be seen for only about 20 minutes. If the moon isn’t visible to the naked eye because of haze or clouds, lunar calculations are used to predict whether it’s in the sky. This year Ramadan is predicted to begin on March 23, and to end April 21 with Eid al-Fitr celebrations."
Ramadan: 9 questions about the Muslim holy month you were too embarrassed to ask
Ramadan is the Muslim holy month, and even amid a pandemic, most of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims will observe it in some form.
Which means there's a good chance you — or a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, your child's teacher — will be celebrating, fasting, and doing all sorts of other activities that are unique to the holy month.
But what is Ramadan, exactly? What’s the deal with fasting? And is there anything special you should do or say when you’re around Muslim friends and acquaintances during Ramadan?