Especially on the issues of public schools, parents who have children in public schools who are interested in something more than to have their children go to school with people who look different from themselves, should see if there are Diversity Committees and then find out how the committee is formulated.
One of the important steps for our committee was making a mission statement. Because people tend not to know - because we don't talk about our differences that much - they tend not to know why we might need a diversity committee. So to have a mission statement helps answer that question for people then you start to create structures that will actually draw in and make inclusion possible.
One of the things our committee has recently done was to make a presentation to the town-wide PTO presidents with the superintendent, to talk to the parental leadership of all of the Brookline Public Schools about whether they have Diversity Committees and how they might go about structuring them. We want to sort of model a little bit of what we are doing, then see if there is an interest or if there's something that they've already started that they want to share with us....
It's that cross-pollination of information and willingness to start to examine the structure - not just to join - but to explore the structures and how effectively they are set up so that we can reach as many people as possible within our community. I think that would be my best advice, because everybody is located in connection with other people and there are lots of little structures to join, but we have to have the willingness to go beyond just joining.
That means looking at something from 1000 feet above the ground level - what does it look like as a whole - because when you are just a member, you sort of let the structure be what it is, you're not up above it looking at it. You need to get up above it, examine at it, and feel empowered to say, 'I can affect the structure and there may be suggestions that I have.'
Women are now so accomplished, educationally and professionally, and yet using their skill sets as transferable skills to the community experiences that they find themselves in is still a bit compartmentalized for them. I think it requires becoming more lateral in your thinking, realizing 'I have these skills sets and they actually are quite transferable to this situation or that situation,' and then using them in that way. Those would be my recommendations.