'Inclusion or Illusion' Attitude Key To Diversifying Pittsburgh

Jan 15, 2016

After viewing the results of the workplace diversity survey, what can employers and employees do to make Pittsburgh a more inclusive and diverse region both in the workplace and in the community? Dignity and Respect, Inc. founder and CEO Candi Castleberry Singleton says the conversation in Pittsburgh echoes much of what her organization stands for: action and commitment. 

“That’s really what the campaign sits in between, ‘I want it, and I do it’, and all of our programs are around that,” Singleton says.

Singleton says it is an “illusion of inclusion” that makes establishing diversity in a workplace more so talk than action.  She explains there are people with the ability to help diversify, but often times, nothing is done because one assumes another will take on that responsibility.

“If you’re not taking any action, you are contributing to the illusion if you say you’re committed,” says Singleton.

William Generett Jr. is President and CEO of Urban Innovation21, a public-private partnership focusing on entrepreneurship and economic growth in underserved communities.  As a minority in his industry, he agrees with Singleton that more work needs to be done to hold businesses and communities accountable to their word.

“What I love about this city is when we figure out that ‘why’ [as it relates to race and diversity], we can do things that no other cities have been able to do.”

The first step to inclusiveness is diversifying inner circles, Singleton says.

“The simple thing to do is just to make a new friend,” she added.

By overcoming biases and stereotypes, Singleton believes in the possibility of a more diverse Pittsburgh.

“This is something we just don’t want to continue to have hanging over us as a barrier to making it the most livable city for all people.”

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