William L. Waller, former governor of Mississippi, died November 30, 2011 at the age of 85. As a prosecutor in 1964, Waller twice tried to convict the segregationist Byron De La Beckwith of murdering the civil rights leader and NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers. The case was dropped in 1969, but Evers was convicted of the murder in 1994 and later died in prison.
In 1971 Waller forged a coalition of poor whites and newly enfranchised blacks to become governor of Mississippi. Waller, a Democrat, used his governorship from 1972 to 1976 to appoint blacks to administrative boards and commissions for the first time in post-Reconstruction Mississippi. Waller named a black as a top adviser during his tenure. He raised three historically black colleges to university status, and he abolished the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, which had fought integration.
How Do You Keep DIVERSITY Fresh?
Those that have worked in the diversity field for years understand this. Others that constantly hear the phrase being touted on television and at conferences tune it out—and thus it’s meaning. So how do you keep diversity fresh? How do you keep from the inevitable burn-out that comes with diversity overload?
As with anything that can become stale, the challenge is to keep the material updated and relevant. By updating the message and the ways it is communicated periodically, one can avoid losing people on the topic. Try varying the type of outlet communicated through, using new technology whenever available. Polls, whether in person or online, can create useful information that can be related in easy-to-read infographics and statistics.
Ask for employee advice and feedback. Receiving input from employees and colleagues will not only diversify the message and keep it fresh, but it will offer a way for employees to share their opinions and feel like their opinions and thoughts are wanted in the workplace.
Above all, keep it fun! Use visual aids and other resources with images and interactive opportunities whenever possible. It may sound like you’re creating a presentation for children, but use the same theory: keeping the message of diversity relatable and relevant will help you convey an important topic to employees. A colorful presentation that engages the audience and keeps the mood light does more for conveying the message than a drab, boring, and serious presentation.
We’d love to hear what you’re doing in your workplace to promote diversity in interesting and fresh ways. Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.