One of my favorite quotes is from Demetria Martinez, an American poet and novelist born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She writes, “No one lacks voice. Not even the dead. But many lack ears, the ability to hear those stories out of which the most destitute of people are forging their destinies, breathing life into bleached bones.”
As a Mexican American born and raised in Albuquerque, I have always regarded Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as a reminder that I have ears, ears that hear stories and practice a temperance at sometimes opposing views and ideals. My New Mexican background and proud family offered me countless opportunities to fine tune my ears to listen to Mexican, pueblo, native, and diverse backgrounds that are both similar and yet so different from my own.
Transitioning from Albuquerque to Washington D.C. challenged my lungs to breathe new life into bleached bones. I struggled with leaving my home behind and felt guilt that I was my happiest pursuing a life that was not in New Mexico. I feared that my history would disappear as soon as I boarded my one-way flight. I held onto the hope that my diversity may one day be in boardrooms across Washington D.C., and soon the new places I found myself made me think about my perception of what being a good steward of DEI means. Slowly I realized that DEI is essential in private, non-profit, public-sector organizations, and businesses across the nation.