Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David joins ‘Influencers with Andy Serwer’ to discuss ways we can address issues of diversity and inclusion.
ANDY SERWER: From your perspective, as an openly gay Black immigrant who made his way through these difficult times to a position of success today, what do institutions need to do– elite institutions to make it easier for people like yourself to climb the ladder, Alphonso?
ALPHONSO DAVIES: I would say, for every single person in positions of power, see beyond yourself. It is that simple. When you’re thinking about implementing policy, when you’re thinking about hiring, when you’re thinking about promotion, when you’re thinking about the issues that you confront in your respective spheres, see beyond yourself, and see yourself in something– someone who looks nothing like you.
Because in most cases, that is the main barrier. We’re unable to see beyond ourselves, or we see others as being the other. And so if we can implement policies and practices and engage in a way where we see beyond ourselves, then I believe, frankly, that we may be able to realize the true promise of what we call our democracy. Because as it stands now, we have so many different experiences.
As a Black man, as a gay man, as an immigrant, I have those three identities. And the experiences that I confront because of those identities, it may be difficult– as my lived experience, it may be difficult for you to understand and appreciate my lived experience. But if you’re in a position of power, understanding my lived experience is going to be key to creating what we call diversity and inclusion, creating those platforms where everyone can come to the table and be valued and also be in an environment where they can actually thrive.