The [Diversity] Struggle is REAL: Managing the Toll of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work

At the end of 2019, our team released an open-ended survey that solicited the perspectives and experiences of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practitioners, more specifically, the physical, mental, and emotional toll of engaging in this work. Many of the experiences shared affirmed the ways in which diversity, advocacy, and social justice work can lead to burnout, health complications, and even death.

We recognize this work is personal. Inasmuch as DEI work has evolved into a profession and “booming” industry, it is important to note that this work is rooted in the quest for civil rights and justice. A quest that is deeply personal—grounded in Black and Brown people’s desire and inherent right to be seen and honored as the full human beings that we are. And while, in some ways, this work has evolved in ways that center profits (or ‘business case’) over humanity and justice, for many of those engaged in and leading this work, it is still deeply personal.  

This lab will explore strategies for managing the emotional, mental, and physical toll of working in diversity, equity, inclusion advocacy and activism spaces. More specifically, this interactive session will:

  • Provide a space for practitioners to affirm and share their stories and perspectives on the impact of this work.
  • Examine and interrogate the language around ‘resilience,’ and its impact on progress towards equity.
  • Offer strategies for managing triggers and the emotional labor of DEI work.
  • Introduce The Physiology of Inclusion™ as a tool to incorporate intentional healthy practices into your DEI practitioner toolkit.