As many in the world celebrate Easter and Good Friday this weekend, I want to share a personal story as it relates to DEI and holidays.
Growing up as a Hindu in the US, I also celebrated most of the Christian holidays along with others in school and later in life.. at work.
I am accustomed to hearing in general about Christian Holidays in the maintstream media and general greetings and announcements. In the year of the pandemic and the “new normal”, as we strive for a more humane and inclusive society, I also am asking more questions and expecting more in practice.
I live in Chicago and raised the request at our Condo Board meeting last week, to also celebrate or at least announce the celebration of Holi (a Hindu Holiday) on March 28 and 29. The response I received from the President of the Board was quite disappointing. He said they will “take it under advisement”.. and also noted that Easter is a Community Holiday and therefore announced by the Management office.. I am welcome to post privately and share about Holi on the Bulletin Board on my own.
Another Board member declared that Easter is an inclusive holiday and children from all religious backgrounds are welcome to celebrate. Wow, the ethnocecntric appraoch here is very astounding.. they not only refused to recognize equally any non Christian holiday.. they asked other children to join in their celebrations.. this was their definition of inclusion.
For those who may not be aware of what is wrong here.. please reverse the roles and see how it would feel if we only honor Holi holiday and suggest that it is inclusive and allow all to join in celebration.. and also deem your religious holiday as a non community event. How would you really feel? One quick step to understanding and empathy in how to treat others is to return to the basics… treat others as we would like to be treated.
Why are BIPOC feeling so much agnst over the years? It’s because of lack of recognition for most things that matters to us in mainstream. Sure, we are happy to join in to other celebrations and are grateful to be included… but, how about some similar gestures from others in return.. to truly and equally respect other cultures and backgrounds?
I understand that nationally the Banks and Stock Market observe holidays celebrated by most.. However, locally in my own Condo community where I pay equally in dues, taxes, and assessments, I do expect equal recognition in terms of space on the community communications and general budget spent on decorations and parties in recognition of religious or cultural holidays. If there is a request to celebrate , the communities should equally honor them, not cherry pick which is deemed as relevant based on their own worldview.
Holi is also symbolic as it is a celebration of color and life. Let’s truly move forward together inclusively and respectfully. Respect means I welcome you to mine and I also recognize yours as equal and consider joining yours.