One of the biggest inhibitors of diversity is lack of education and understanding. While people come in all different shapes, sizes and colors, Collin County Diversity Council works with people from all walks of life to show them that they are more similar than they may think. Founded in 2018, CCDC has been hard at work creating programs to help build a future of open-minded citizens.
CCDC member Denise Hamilton describes the group’s dynamic as more of a friendship, as opposed to a political organization.
“We go to each other’s churches, and we invite people into our worlds to show that we’re all alike,” Hamilton says. “We create an avenue to where you can experience other things through participation.”
CCDC holds various programs, including friendship circles, where members gather together at one member’s home and partake in a themed discussion. Previous discussions included “What does my faith mean to me?” and “How does mental health affect my culture?” They have also previously discussed cultural wedding traditions and their similarities.
“I think people tend to forget that we’re so diverse, yet so similar,” says CCDC member Shahmeen Khan. “Our cultures and religions are rooted in similar beliefs.”
Both Hamilton and Khan believe that it is essential to encourage children to be open-minded and socially conscious from a young age.
“Schools can do better when it comes to educating our children about diversity,” Khan says.
“But it’s also a state thing,” Hamilton adds. “The schools are very limited as to what they can do, so it’s really the parents’ responsibility to learn about diversity and pass what they’ve learned onto their children.”
While CCDC primarily meets in Allen and Plano, they hope to grow beyond these two cities and for each city in Collin County to have its own advisory board for diversity. They also hope to maintain the sense of camaraderie and friendship as CCDC expands.
“You have to reach people with love and purity of heart,” Khan says. “I might love protests, but it’s important to reach people without any ego or arrogance.”