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Looking Forward Towards Inclusion 

by Aleasa Word, FAACT’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

December 2023

As we get closer to the year end, I always look forward to reflecting on growth throughout the year and deciding on my theme for the upcoming year. This year was the year of “get it done” which meant a lot of projects I had on the back burner or halfway finished had to be front and center. I was able to publish a journal for caregivers as well as a coloring book to represent a specific community of young girls that are often underrepresented. I even managed to squeak out a guide for middle managers. It’s safe to say that I felt accomplished for much of the year which was not always the case for years in the past.

One thing we don’t get more of in this life is time and I always try to remind myself to make the best of what I have. Carrying over the mindset to get it done will be an ongoing task for me as I look forward to additional things I can do to contribute to the world.

What will you do in 2024? What will you focus on? What will you attempt to do that may not have been right in the past or too scary to try? Will you continue your journey to improve inclusion efforts in both your professional life? Will you work to create a legacy of belonging in your family that lasts for generations to come? Will you dedicate time to get to know those around you in a more meaningful way?

Here are a few things to consider as you ponder how you can add value to your life and that of others as the new year begins to approach.

Commit to Looking At Life As An Inclusivity Cocktail

In the food allergy community, we are as diverse as it gets. Imagine a big bowl of different fruits. When separated they are nice but when mixed, they are a unique array of flavors and textures that can be pleasing. Think of how we as humans represent the different ingredients of a fruit salad. We know all too well that what is safe for one person in our community may not be safe for another so we can tweak this mix to suit us all yet still recognize and appreciate diversity while being compassionate and understanding.

Spread Awareness One Laugh At A Time

Everyone loves a good laugh, right? They even say laughter is good medicine. Food allergies are serious business; however, we can still laugh and enjoy this thing called life. Use comedy to help improve connection with others and learn together. Share funny memes or videos with serious messages around advocacy and awareness and make them just a little funny to catch other’s attention without taking away from the message.

There are a lot of things we can do to improve the way we spread awareness around food allergy and anaphylaxis. Together we can get there if we are intentional about doing so. Creating themes - whether for yourself, your family, or your food allergy community - help people get creative when they are joining your advocacy journey.

A few mantras to consider for 2024 include:

  1. Labels are Love: Read them Loud and Proud
  2. Compassion is Contagious
  3. Courage Over Comfort: Speak Up for Equity
  4. Inclusivity Knows No Boundaries

Find your voice and be intentional about your efforts.