Making Memphis a better community by promoting goodwill among all people.
WHO WE ARE
A Distinct Identity
Diversity Memphis works with a broad spectrum of our faith communities’ leaders and members to design a programmatic approach to education and respect for all people in the Midsouth community.
Programs designed to discuss sensitive subjects such as disparities in healthcare, workplace and school place respect, and an examination of those common threads that bind us together.
Making A Difference in Memphis
Provide broad based opportunities to the community through education and involvement in promoting social justice and peace
Programming and community engagement are at the core of our strategy. We invest heavily in supporting the development of integrated solutions and delivering reliable tools to those who need them most. Discover more about our innovative campaigns below and get in touch to stay up to date regarding our latest efforts.
For over ten years, Diversity Memphis has selected leaders that are champions of social justice. These leaders received the distinguished Humanitarian Award for their dedicated service to the Memphis community.
DIVERSITY MEMPHIS WALK
Diversity Memphis' walk for justice champions opportunities for all Memphians no matter their background. This walk represents a chance to stride hand in hand with all of Memphis for a common cause that benefits us all.
DIVERSITY EDUCATION & OUTREACH
Diversity Memphis teaches lifestyle training throughout schools and businesses. Board members and volunteers are trained through MICAH and a part of the National Diversity Council.
DIVERSITY MEMPHIS TALKS
Leaders in Memphis share their perspective on diversity and inclusion in their own words
I am the youngest of the three children. When I was born, my mother moved from the country to Memphis, Tennessee where she raised my two siblings and me. I never met my father. He died before I was born. My mother raised us on a very low income, but we never went without. My mother’s strong faith in the Lord was what carried her through many difficult times raising three children by herself. I learned from my mother to put my trust in God.
I am a proud product of Memphis City Schools. I had my oldest son my Senior year at Kingsbury High School. Though it was a difficult time, I persevered and worked hard. After graduating as Valedictorian I attended the University of Memphis on a full scholarship. By my second year of college, I was the mother of two and my mother left Memphis to return to Columbus, Ohio. This is the time of my life that I came into my own learning life as a young adult.
Sunday, Wednesday, and Summers were spent in Mississippi. I grew up working in the ministry at Armstrong St. Church of God in Batesville, Mississippi. There, I learned how to be humble and how to serve others. We served the community as well as each other. The love of service was instilled in me through my mother as well as the church. I visited the sick in hospitals, served in nursing homes, cooked for those in need, sat with the elderly, did activities with the youth as a young adult. Through serving in the church ministries, I learned what to love as Christ meant. I was an unwed mother of three children by 21 years old and I was never thrown away, but instead loved in spite of my choices. They looked beyond my faults and saw my needs. So, as I graduated from college and married, I continued to live a life of love and service. The influence of love truly makes a difference. And I learned through the influences of the church how to love others.
I love diversity. Diversity is everyone. Different. No one person, even twins are the same. Diversity for me relates to beliefs, ideas, culture, and ethnicity. Each person varies based on genetics, environment, and experience. There is no cookie cutter for people that makes and bakes us the same. With this in mind, I treat each individual just as that, individual. I also accept people as they are, knowing that diversity is and will continue to be all around me. No matter where I am or who I am around, I choose to love the people I encounter and relate to. I live by the Golden Rule (Treat others as I want to be treated.) If I want to be respected, I should first respect others. I know I am different, so I respect other’s differences.
If everyone lived by the golden rule discrimination would not exist. Unfortunately, that rule is not followed by all. Discrimination has devastating effects within our society. It causes psychological trauma that is not easily erased. I yet agonize about an experience I faced my senior year in high school. I faced many challenges, yet I worked extremely hard to excel academically in high school. I earned the highest GPA in my class. However, two of my peers who happened to be a different race assumed they would become Valedictorian and Salutatorian and though my GPA was higher, two staff members attempted not only to allow the other students to take 1st and 2nd in my class, but also to keep me from being inducted into the National Honor Society. Fortunately, there were administrators and teachers who fought for my standing and my induction. They believed in me though I was different and had a different set of circumstances. They accepted me for the person of character I was.
I believe the way people respond to situations in society shows their character. In our climate, people are groomed to react quickly but often without thought or care. But I believe being “swift to hear and slow to speak” goes a long way (James 1:19 KJV).How a person responds to people’s actions is critical. A person who considers others chooses wisely how they treat people. Social justice is ideological and begins with respect for all. Our social climate is very unstable because of society’s perception of what is fair or just. Justice alone is not a strength in our society no matter what race, ethnicity, or background a person from. From the social media on our phones to our conversation in the workplace evidence of injustice alarms frequently. Changes begin with each individual, choosing to be just and fair. How feasible it that?
I utilize my opportunities of engaging with others to promote diversity everywhere I go. Listening to young people is one of the best tools I use to encourage diversity. Young people often say or do things in ways I never thought about. Once I hear their ideas and see where they are coming from, I can better understand who they are and why they do what they do. Asking questions is another way I learn about the differences around me. How can you see things from other’s perspective if you don’t respectfully ask questions about their differences? Take time to listen to people without judgement or being critical. You will often find you are not as different as you thought.
I was born and grew up in Shanghai, China. I immigrated to United States in 1989 and received my BA degree in English, American and British Literature from Shanghai International Studies University (SISU), participated in the Fulbright Scholars Program on American Studies and taught English as a Second Language (ESL) at SISU. I received my Master of Library & Information Science degree from the University of South Carolina (USC).
I have worked for Memphis Public Library system for the past 27 years. During this period, I have served in various librarian and management positions. Currently, I’m the Adult Services Coordinator which includes administering, planning, and coordinating many extensive, rich, and active system-wide, community-wide, and city-wide adult programs, exhibits and services, striving to bridge the information divide and making the Memphis library system a welcoming, informative, transformative, and fresh and fun place for people to connect, learn and grow.
I have also been very active in the Chinese and Memphis Community at large. In 2003 I graduated from Leadership Memphis Executive Class and in 2006 I graduated from Leadership Academy (New Memphis Institute) Fellows Program. I’m one of the founding members, former president, and board member of Greater Memphis United Chinese Association (GMUCA) and was instrumental in the establishment of Memphis Chinese Language School. I was named as one of the 50 Women Who Made a Difference by Memphis Women’s Magazine and one of the 2004 Top 40 Under 40 by the Daily News. In my spare time, I’m a sports junkie, doing yoga exercises and I like to sing and dance. With my husband Jeff, we are the proud parents of two children, Stephen, and Kelly.
Growing up my middle and high school basketball coach played a big role in my life. Several years ago, I attended a book talk by Bill Courtney, author of Against the Grain: A Coach's Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family and Love. Coach Courtney's story was made into a documentary Undefeated-- a story of Manassas High School coach overcame obstacles, and in 6 years, turning a low performing football team into a winning one. The inspirational documentary won 2012 Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature category.
The story resonated with me: My middle school and high school Coach Huang was very much like Coach Courtney who was the one person outside my family had influenced me the most growing up. He taught me the core values and principals of teamwork, commitment, hardworking, and striving for excellence which had great impact on my life.
Diversity, to me, is to put yourself in other people's shoes and walk a mile. You will be exposed to the different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Hopefully, you will learn to have an awareness, understanding, appreciation of the differences. You will be more tolerant of others, treating people who are different from you with respect, dignity, and equality, just like what you want to be treated.
Diversity is like a box a crayon with different colors. Together they can draw a colorful picture.
Currently, hate crimes, harassment, discrimination, and racial attacks tied to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic against Asian Americans are skyrocketing across the country. Earlier this year, 8 people, among them 6 of Asian descents, were gun down in massage spas in Atlanta, Georgia.
Labeling of Covid-19 as the "China Virus" and "Kung Flu" does not help, but perpetuate AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) hate, resulting in many "unspeakable tragedies" of innocent victims and their families. These horrific acts of violence against Asian Americans are very concerning and disturbing.
Here are some key words as it relates to discrimination.
Miscommunication to language barriers, and cultural differences.
Prejudice and/or biases -- intolerance and discrimination of a person based on their race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or political beliefs.
Stereotyping -- making judgement and unfair assumption about a person based on their cultural identity.
Meanwhile one place we can help rid ourselves of discrimination and promote understanding is work.
Build a diversed workplace-- Recuruiting and hiring practices to ensure diversity and inclusion.
Diversity awareness training: Accepting differences and finding common grounds.
Create opportunities for employees and people from different backgrounds to understand and appreciate each other.
"Each day brings new opportunities, allowing you to constantly live with love -- be there for others -- bring a little light into someone's day. Be grateful and live each day to the fullest." by Roy T. Bennett
"There is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it." by Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history.