In a world where headlines showcase violence towards BIPOC and recently the AAPI communities, there is importance in finding ways to learn and celebrate the diversity of cultural communities around us. How can we do that in the here and now during a global pandemic where masking and social distancing are commonplace?
One way to engage this experience is through celebrating World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21st. This was started in December 2002 through the UN General Assembly. The goal of this day is to
“provide us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to advance the four goals of
Support sustainable systems of governance for culture,
Achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase mobility of artists and cultural professionals,
Integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks, and
Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
But how can we do that this week? I found a list of ideas on the United Nations of Alliance of Civilizations website. Many of these activities can be adapted for our current times - museums are offering timed visits in a socially distanced fashion, online versions of classes and activities can be accessed in lieu of in-person attendance.
Take time when you read this today or on May 21 to participate in cultural discussions that pursue diversity, create friendly relations between your fellow human, and make a contribution in fostering human rights and freedoms through the learning/appreciating/celebrating of other cultures. These acts are the first of many steps to work towards racial equity and justice in our community and world.
Lou Lim, LMHC, REAT is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.