Reflecting Fred Rogers’ revelation that “we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are,” accepting diversity is essential to a healthy community. Accepting difference is the surest way to create oneness. Endorsing the different dimensions of diversity, I combine learning with laughter to create a classroom community that appreciates individuality.

With empathy as my anchor, I suggest students evolve in their own rhyme and time. To quote Max de Pree, “we need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity.” As an expat in the United Arab Emirates, I taught Sheikhs alongside students on scholarships. I see people for their potential, not their pedigree.

In the workplace, I establish my individual identity while connecting with colleagues from different colleges and countries. Acknowledging that knowing the person behind their profession is paramount, I effectuate diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts across campus and the community in which it exists. While introspecting about incidents of inclusion or exclusion, it’s powerful to ponder the perception proposed by Octavius Black that “I’m not different from you, I’m different like you.”