Does your membership and your PTA board reflect the population of parents and children at your school?

If the answer is no then you should look to bring more diversity to your PTA membership.

What is diversity? Commonly the term diversity is tied to race and culture but, in reality diversity includes so much more than that.

Diversity means including and realizing the potential of everyone regardless of age, ethnicity, language and culture, economic status, educational background, gender, geographic location, marital status, mental ability, national origin, organizational position and tenure, parental status, physical ability, political philosophy, race, religion, sexual orientation, and work experience.

PTA’s everywhere must understand and embrace the uniqueness of all individuals, appreciating that each person contributes experiences, cultural heritage/traditions, skill/abilities, values and preferences.

When PTAs respect differences and acknowledge shared commonalities uniting their communities, and then develop meaningful priorities based upon their knowledge, they genuinely represent their entire communities. When PTAs represent their communities, they gain strength and effectiveness through increased volunteers, resource support, and more members. This creates a louder voice for things that are truly important to our children.

How can you help create a more inclusive PTA?

Inclusion is defined as a practice of ensuring that people in organizations feel they belong, are engaged, and connected through their work to the goals and objectives of the organization.

The leaders in our state are working to make significant goals toward increasing participants’ cultural awareness and knowledge, increasing the inclusion of different identity groups, and promoting shared teamwork within Oklahoma PTA to include local units and councils.

We make this commitment to assist local units in instituting, incorporating, and implementing policies that will encourage wider participation in the PTA through community outreach programs, as well as partnerships and collaborations between community stakeholders, and cooperative organizations.

Please help us move forward as an association by reaching out to everyone in the community you serve. We must continue to become more inclusive and provide resources to help make each family and individual feel invited and valued.

What we have in common–our shared humanity–is much more important than our differences.

Richard Osei

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