A PARADIGM SHIFT IN RACE CONSCIOUSNESS DRIVES THE GROWING DEMAND FOR DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION CONSULTATION
By Lisa Holder
Lisa Holder runs a client-centered practice that handles both civil and criminal matters, with a focus on police misconduct and workplace discrimination litigation. She is a UCLA Law Lecturer on civil rights and constitutional policing. In addition, she is a recognized expert on racial justice, and consults with legislators and cities to draft laws and regulations that advance racial equity. Her DEI consulting services are also available for private firms. In the past, she has served as the Legal Director for the Equal Justice Society, a Deputy Los Angeles Alternate Public Defender, an associate for the Hadsell, Stormer firm, and as law clerk for the Equal Justice Initiative. Ms. Holder earned a J.D. from NYU Law School and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.
Today, a surging focus on systemic racism is sweeping across continents, creating dramatic changes in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) landscape. The murder of George Floyd and countless predecessors could have simply been a trigger for reforming police practices specifically relating to black people in the U.S., but instead has turned into a tsunami exposing discrimination against all categories of historically disenfranchised peopleâwomen, non-binary, and BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color)â "politely" and often erroneously referred to in professional services firms as "diverse" individuals.
DEI is workplace lingo for the process of cultivating a work environment that is varied in personnel and inclusive, holistic, and accepting in its culture and operations. Diverse personnel means staff that is eclectic in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability/disability, and seamlessly reflective of the diversity in the broader society. Notably, an individual or a singular race of people cannot be "diverse," as diversity inherently requires multiples greater than one. Equity is targeted operations that appreciate and support the disparate needs of diverse personnel with different lived experiences. These operations sometimes treat employees differently based on their lived experiences and degrees of access, in order to level the playing field. An inclusive work culture is one that accepts and uplifts difference and embeds its diverse personnel equitably in the programmatic decision-making process. Holistic operations are workplace norms, structures, and procedures informed by diversity and equity principles. Like many holistic, non-binary visions in a binary world, the DEI workplace is aspirational, and achievable only through tireless and sincere commitment.