How to Create a More Inclusive and Loving Community...

This month at Extended Grace we Celebrated ALL Love and in the process talked about the many ways in which we consciously and unconsciously discriminate against our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

Then we made a list of the things we can do to create a more inclusive and loving community. Here's what we came up with. What will YOU do?


Keep talking about it
Advocate everywhere including politics, school and church
Support businesses who celebrate diversity and don't give your money to those that do not
Call out people who say hurtful things and use hurtful words and slurs, engage when possible in meaningful conversation
Make friends with diverse people
Step outside your comfort zone
Ask LGBTQ how to be an ally
Learn the history
Read young adult fiction that addresses this space like these: https://www.bookbub.com/blog/2018/04/17/lgbt-ya-books
Buy and wear a ribbon (which can be found at our shop, Just Goods Gifts & Cafe!), fly a flag, display a bumper sticker
Provide your preferred pronoun when introducing yourself to others
Teach kids not to put people in boxes
Normalize the conversation and the reality
Don't make excuses when you slip. Apologize and try to do better
Vote with awareness
Watch movies that tackle the topics
Celebrate everyone!!


So let’s get very concrete. Let’s make this personal. I am part of the problem and so are you. So what can you do personally yourself starting now to make a difference?    1. Know yourself. Do your own cultural review. Unpack your own invisible knapsack around race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, and prison record. Use your self-awareness to monitor the things you do and say and to challenge the unconscious biases that jump into your head when you least expect them to.    2. Move beyond guilt and shame. Once you identify your own biases, don’t let them define you. Admit that you don’t like some people. You don’t have to like everyone. There will be people with privilege and people without that you don’t like. That’s okay. Admit that you haven’t always been your best self. You have done things to perpetuate social injustice. You are part of a system that perpetuates social injustice. Accept it, own it and then move beyond it.    3. Challenge others lovingly. When people do and say things that are offensive, insensitive or stupid, pick the time and the place to be politely confrontational. Ask why – what makes you say that? Relate to their experience and then share your own. Don’t make winning your objective. Instead, recognize that we are all in one way or another the victim of our upbringing. Some of us have a luckier start than others. Learn the history of the injustices that confront us. Know what you’re up against.    4. Get involve in existing efforts. Figure out who is doing the work and join them. There is strength in numbers. Show up ready to work. Or just show up. Pick your level of engagement and then honor it. Look for opportunities – where can you leverage your knowledge, your position, your relationships. You are all leaders in our community, you all have leverage you can bring to this..    5.Don’t believe it’s up to you to solve the whole problem. Believe it’s up to you to help create space where change is possible. Be realistic. Avoid feeling negative, hopeless and defeated. And avoid feeling optimistically complacent. Remember that no other people has ever faced the kind of situation we are living in today – which means no one has the perfect answer. We are human – so there will never be a perfect answer. Embrace trial and error. Embrace perfect imperfection. You don’t need to fix it the whole problem, but you do need to do something.

So let’s get very concrete. Let’s make this personal. I am part of the problem and so are you. So what can you do personally yourself starting now to make a difference?

1. Know yourself. Do your own cultural review. Unpack your own invisible knapsack around race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, and prison record. Use your self-awareness to monitor the things you do and say and to challenge the unconscious biases that jump into your head when you least expect them to.

2. Move beyond guilt and shame. Once you identify your own biases, don’t let them define you. Admit that you don’t like some people. You don’t have to like everyone. There will be people with privilege and people without that you don’t like. That’s okay. Admit that you haven’t always been your best self. You have done things to perpetuate social injustice. You are part of a system that perpetuates social injustice. Accept it, own it and then move beyond it.

3. Challenge others lovingly. When people do and say things that are offensive, insensitive or stupid, pick the time and the place to be politely confrontational. Ask why – what makes you say that? Relate to their experience and then share your own. Don’t make winning your objective. Instead, recognize that we are all in one way or another the victim of our upbringing. Some of us have a luckier start than others. Learn the history of the injustices that confront us. Know what you’re up against.

4. Get involve in existing efforts. Figure out who is doing the work and join them. There is strength in numbers. Show up ready to work. Or just show up. Pick your level of engagement and then honor it. Look for opportunities – where can you leverage your knowledge, your position, your relationships. You are all leaders in our community, you all have leverage you can bring to this..

5.Don’t believe it’s up to you to solve the whole problem. Believe it’s up to you to help create space where change is possible. Be realistic. Avoid feeling negative, hopeless and defeated. And avoid feeling optimistically complacent. Remember that no other people has ever faced the kind of situation we are living in today – which means no one has the perfect answer. We are human – so there will never be a perfect answer. Embrace trial and error. Embrace perfect imperfection. You don’t need to fix it the whole problem, but you do need to do something.