Some Thoughts on Diversity - and a Blog Naming Contest

I’ve been thinking a lot about the notion of “diversity” this week. On Thursday, I was at the 6th Diversity Seminar, sponsored by Mental Health America of Lancaster County and Lancaster County Office of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Early Intervention. Though the term “diversity” is often used in reference to racial and ethnic differences, speakers at the Diversity Seminar helped us to explore additional aspects of diversity including socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, criminal justice system involvement, educational disparities and other differences upon which stereotypes and biases are formed. They also challenged us to examine how those biases and stereotypes are formed, and how they are often perpetuated through the media, religious and other organizations, governmental, educational and other “systems.” Keynote speaker Dr. Robert Scott got us thinking about the make-up of the world’s population if the world were shrunk to a village of 100 people.

And keynote speaker Carlos Ojeda, Jr of CoolSpeak issued this stirring call to action:
“If each of us was willing to take just one step outside of our comfort zone & get to know someone who is different from us, soon, all of our comfort zones would intersect & we would no longer fear one another.”

This morning, I had a wonderful and very frank conversation with a new friend, Marsha Banks, Founder and President of A Miracle 4 Sure. She shared some of what she has experienced living in a small rural community with very little racial diversity, as an African American woman who had once been incarcerated. Marsha is highly educated, she has vast experience working with families and children, she’s won numerous awards for her work, she’s articulate, strong and passionate about engaging in the community – yet biases and stereotypes blind some people to all she has to offer. Hearing about her journey and experiences was humbling and reminded me once again of how much I “don’t even know what I don’t know.”

And this afternoon, Ken Mueller, of Inkling Media, provided more food for thought related to the “diversity” of my own interests and the wide-ranging (and sometimes seemingly random) topics I’ve been addressing in my blog. I want to continue to highlight interesting people and terrific things going on in Lancaster City. But I felt like I needed a connecting thread that would run through all of my blog entries, whether I’m writing about city history, the arts, social services, city businesses and restaurants, environmental initiatives in the city, or even Ruth’s life and the history of this city rowhome we’re restoring. Ken wisely observed that all of these diverse areas of interest connect to what makes up the culture of this city we now call home. I like that. It makes sense.

But he also suggested that I come up with a name for my blog (what, “Melanie G. Snyder’s Blog” isn’t original enough??) that will convey that focus on these diverse facets of the culture of Lancaster City. SO – here’s what I’ve decided to do: I’m turning to YOU to get your input and ideas on a new name for my blog (Don’t look over your shoulder to see who I’m talking to! I’m talking to YOU!)

To sweeten the deal, and to tempt people to submit as many ideas as possible, I’m offering a prize for the winning entry of TWO FREE TICKETS for the “Taste the World” Walking and Sampling Tour of seven of Lancaster City’s ethnic restaurants.

(NOTE: the Taste the World event is on Friday May 13, 2011, 5pm-8pm)

Here’s how it works:
FIRST, while you’re here, please consider subscribing to or “following” my blog. You can do this using the two options in the right hand column of this page (you might have to scroll back up to see them) – either enter your email address to sign up to receive an email notice when I post new blog entries, OR if you use Facebook, select the “CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG” option in the “Networked Blogs” icon in the right hand column of this page
NOW – to enter the contest: CLICK ON THIS LINK to submit your blog name ideas
CONTEST ENDS at 9PM EDT, Friday, May 6, 2011
• If more than one person submits the same idea for a blog name, sorry, only the first submission will be eligible for the prize
• After 9pm, on Friday, May 6, I’ll post details here on my blog about how to submit your votes for the best name.
• On Monday May 9th, I’ll announce the winner here on my blog. (see why it’s a good idea for you to either subscribe or “follow” my blog?)

Looking forward to your ideas! And, as always, thanks for reading!

Posted by Melanie Tagged as: city life lancaster pa

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