Culture and Identity Center | Photo by Cheyenne Waddell | Edited by Kayli Thompson | The Wright State Guardian
One local organization is promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace on Wright State University’s campus and beyond.
About the organization
Since its founding in 1978, nonprofit National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton’s mission has been opposing bigotry and discrimination while promoting inclusion and justice. According to the official NCCJ website, the principles of the organization are inclusion, integrity, justice and potential for change.
NCCJ Executive Director Adriane Miller explained how NCCJ can intersect with college settings through interactive workshops, which create a foundation of common language through small and large group discussions.
Adriane Miller noted that the diversity of WSU creates opportunities for inclusive dialogue.
“So, being able to bring people together and help them realize that we’re more alike than different and that those things that make us unique make us beautiful, you know, versus a reason to not connect, you know, whether that be a language or a physical disability, you know, so seeing that we are a lot more alike than different,” Adriane Miller said.
Emilia Ranalli, member of Asian Student Association and Asian Native American Council, echoed these sentiments about diversity in the Culture and Identity Centers.
“It’s really nice to just see, like, a bunch of different people with a bunch of different backgrounds, and, like, a lot of intersectionality because a lot of us don’t just belong in one either, you know. I think for me, it’s just like a wide spread of people with, like, different experiences,” Ranalli said.
Adriane Miller described the impact of discussions about similarities, differences and inclusion.
“If [students] can become a strong advocate, then they can pass it along to other people, which will hopefully then help permeate into many different parts of the community,” Adriane Miller said.
NCCJ Director of Education Lake Miller acknowledged the discomfort of conversation and advocacy.
“The important piece about this is, it’s not going to be easy, right? And, like, going into the understanding that it’s going to be hard. There’s going to be times that are going to be uncomfortable, but those discomfort moments are growing pains, right?” Lake Miller said.
Struggles for inclusion on campus
Lake Miller expressed the most frequent discrminiation issue in and out of the classrooms.
“One of the biggest issues that I’m seeing right now is microaggressions or just this disconnect between intent and impact,” Lake Miller said.
Ranalli expressed struggles outside the individual perspective, focusing on organization- and institution-based difficulties.
“I’ve definitely noticed that with administration or like bigger orgs it’s been really hard to, like, get our voices out there and, like, be taken seriously. I feel like we’ve had to jump through a lot of hoops since I’ve been around to get stuff done,” Ranalli said. “I know I felt pretty ignored and just like not taken seriously.”
Despite these feelings, Lake Miller mentioned positive opportunities for places like WSU to be places for students to express true identities to a receptive community.
Lake Miller mentioned different opportunities for students to increase awareness and involvement with diverse and inclusive programs. NCCJ welcomes college student interns, with other local grassroots opportunities available; Lake Miller encourages students to be educated, pursue change and do work in these organizational and individual areas, including on-campus programs.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, where you come from, what your experiences are, you have something of value to add. You have important experiences to share.”
NCCJ is located at 118 W First St Suite 630 in Dayton. Students can contact NCCJ Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 937-222-6225. WSU Inclusive Excellence is located in 280 University Hall with a contact number at 937-775-2087.