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TRANSCRIPT - Episode 70: SPOTLIGHTING-Diversity and Inclusion: How to Turn Dialogue into Action with Dr. Kari Bolen Episode 70

May 24, 2022

SPOTLIGHTING-Diversity and Inclusion: How to Turn Dialogue  into Action with Dr. Kari Bolen Episode 70 

00:00:00Dr. Bolen 

We've got to engage in building a robust system of advocacy, and one  that really centers on social support. And you can do that with  community partners, you can do that internally if you're coming from  sort of a post-secondary institution space. 


00:00:14Dr. Bolen 

But that really needs to be sort of at the core of it. How we kind of  think about supporting the narrative around workforce development  needs to be interrogated a bit, how we sort of invite others into that  

discussion, and how we encourage bridge-building, especially, if I'm  thinking from the context of the college with our empowerment  programs, historically, address the needs of our minoritized  populations - and what does that support and what does it look like  for us to promote collaboration. 



The workforce landscape is rapidly changing and educators and their  institutions need to keep up. Preparing students before they enter the  workforce to make our communities and businesses stronger is at the  core of getting an education. 



But we need to understand how to change and adjust so that we can  begin to project where things are headed before we even get there. So,  how do we begin to predict the future? 



Hi, I'm Salvatrice Cummo, Vice President of Economic and  Workforce Development at Pasadena City College and host of this 




And I'm Christina Barsi, producer and co-host of this podcast. 



And we are starting the conversation about the future of work. We'll  explore topics like how education can partner with industry, how to be  more equitable, and how to attain one of our highest goals; more  internships, and PCC students in the workforce. 



We at Pasadena City College want to lead the charge in closing the  gap between what our students are learning and what the demands of  the workforce will be once they enter. This is a conversation that  impacts all of us. You, the employers, the policymakers, the  educational institutions, and the community as a whole. 



We believe change happens when we work together and it all starts  with having a conversation. I'm Christina Barsi. 



And I'm Salvatrice Cummo, and this is the Future of Work. 



When it comes to diversity, how do we find ways to become a part of  the solution? Well, this topic is just as layered as you might think.  And today, we have PCC's Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion  Officer, Dr. Kari Bolen, to distill this topic down for us. Let's dive in. 



Welcome back to the Future of Work Podcast. I am your host,  Salvatrice Cummo with Pasadena City College. And my co-host here  today is Leslie Thompson. Hey Leslie. 



Good morning. 



We do have a special guest here with us today. She is our Chief  Diversity Officer for the college, Pasadena City College, Dr. Kari  Bolen. Hi, Dr. Bolen. 


00:02:47Dr. Bolen 

Hello, hello? Good morning everyone. I am just pleased to be here. 



We're excited. I know I've shared this with you multiple times. I can't- 


00:02:55Dr. Bolen 

This is what excitement sounds like. 



Yeah, I can't even tell you how many times we've shared about thank  you for choosing us. Thank you for choosing us as your family, as  your new family, your work family. But we are so thrilled to talk  about really the work around diversity, equity and inclusion. What  does that mean for the college? What does that mean for employers?  What does that mean for us as professionals? And so, if it's okay with  you, we'd like to dive right in if that's alright? 


00:03:27Dr. Bolen 

I'm ready. 



Well, I'd like to start with a little background information. If you  could tell us a little bit about your education and career path and how  you arrived at this particular position and how you chose PCC as your  new work family. 


00:03:39Dr. Bolen 

Yes, great question. Of course, I've been a huge fan of PCC. PCC has  been sort of on my vision board for quite some time now. I've shared  in some spaces that I got some roots here in the community where my  

grandmother was the first black computer programmer in the  administrative office. And that's kind of her claim to fame having  worked at PCC at one point at junior college for 30 years. So, we  

spent quite a bit of time on campus as we would visit her during the  summer months. 


00:04:06Dr. Bolen 

And so, I was just over the moon when this opportunity bubbled up to  the surface. My career in higher education has been for double digits.  I'll just leave it like that. And I really kind of started out with an  interest in law. And when my senior year came up and I was applying  to law schools and all that good stuff, I realized that that was just not  my calling in life, that I needed to engage with individuals, and that in  particular, around justice. 


00:04:35Dr. Bolen 

I had a very interesting sort of upbringing having resided in  communities where we were sort of the only and lonely. I identify as  African American. And that really kind of was a jumpstart to my own  sort of racial identity development. And so, I didn't have the language  for it then, but once I got it, I was certainly using it, and wanted to 

learn more - to deepen my understanding of my own identity  development and that of others. 


00:04:59Dr. Bolen 

And so, that was kind of a precursor to this role. I've worked in a  number of capacities: disability services, student activities, alumni  affairs, residential education, but nothing quite gives me the same  sense of joy and completion as diversity affairs. 


00:05:18Dr. Bolen 

And so, I'm excited to be in that role, in this particular capacity right  now. And I've had some phenomenal mentors that have helped me to  sort of get to this place that I'm in today as the Chief Diversity Equity  

Inclusion Officer. Inaugural - I like to say that that's my claim to  fame, is that it's an inaugural position. 



You're the first one and we're so happy you're here. 


00:05:41Dr. Bolen 

Yes. First but not the last. 



Well, I think that as we grapple around or think about, I should say, as  we think about our efforts as a division, as economic and workforce  development ... Leslie and I have had these conversations around how  do we best engage employers in this work with the college? 



Because for us, I mean, we're getting quite a bit of inquiry on  companies, corporations, small business, medium size ... any size  business really - coming to us and saying, how do we do this although 

this is not new? But how do we become better employers around  diversity, equity and inclusion? How do we change our culture, our  company culture, how do we ... et cetera, et cetera. And you think  about all the things that they talk about. 


00:06:35Dr. Bolen 




You know, for us, it's we're kind of like in this limbo of how might  that work? What might that look like for employers to engage with an  institution like ours to help facilitate those conversations and efforts  within their organization. And just thinking about ideas, what might  be you think some thoughts around that? 


00:06:59Dr. Bolen 

That's I mean, a really good question. I think the first piece that I  might ask of employers is really to begin by taking a deeper  examination of their motives and goals around diversity. It's in some  spaces, can be seen as kind of a fad. Like it's kind of something that  we're supposed to be doing. 


00:07:20Dr. Bolen 

You need to know why DE&I initiatives are critical for your business  and for your organization. And if your answer is, "Well, I don't want  my company to implode from a scandal," well, that's not good  enough. You need to find something aspirational and sort of start  building towards that. And away from sort of diversity as a box that  you check off. 


00:07:41Dr. Bolen 

And I think we have such an awesome opportunity to do that. There  are communities that have in this particular season that where now, 

they've been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, for  example. And for them, it has posed some really traumatic challenges  to their economic wellbeing, stability, and mobility. And these  communities more often than not are communities of color, are also  part of sort of occupations that are at greater risk now of elimination  as a result of where we're at technologically, and so forth. We're kind  of seeing sort of the globalization of different work industries and all  that good stuff. 


00:08:16Dr. Bolen 

And so, these types of disruptions as you might call it are really  demanding not only new skills, but kind of new concepts of workers  in workplace. And so, training is so incredibly important when we're  thinking about how we're wanting to sort of mitigate the challenges  

and barriers for our students, for individuals outside of post-secondary  education in kind of this shift that we're at right now. 


00:08:41Dr. Bolen 

Even thinking about sort of the standard 40-hour workweek, it's kind  of disintegrating as we're sort of in this period of sort of 24 access to,  and demand for information and work and services. It kind of begins  to sort of reshape what work requirements look like. 


00:08:59Dr. Bolen 

And so, kind of in that same vein, employers have to make a  commitment to today's workers, and in various ways - in ways that  they didn't have to before. And so, that means sort of investing and  

innovating teaching and learning models, talked about training models  - again, that supports the identities and lived experiences of our  workers, models that foster a racially just workplace; that really  

should be at the forefront of today's conversations within our  industries - professional development and policymaking for  employers and sort of what that looks like and centering equity there. 


00:09:29Dr. Bolen 

I mean, we have to turn sort of dialogue into action and go beyond  sort of this symbolic approach to DEI as it relates to the workforce,  and address some of those challenges. 


00:09:42Dr. Bolen 

I love quotes and not often do I actually remember who says it, but I  can remember a quote. But this kind of thinking through the quotes  that kind of move me, I made sure to make sure that I give due credit  to Booker T. Washington, who was an educator, was an author, and an  activist, and wrote more than a century ago that "Success is to be  measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life, is  by the obstacles by which one has overcome while trying to succeed." 


00:10:12Dr. Bolen 

And so, it's really important for us to understand that as I'm looking  forward to talking a little bit more about that economic liberation and  economic justice has not really been in existence for everyone. And  some may argue still is not. 


00:10:25Dr. Bolen 

So, when we kind of reflect on in your question on sort of workforce  development, as kind of a gateway to economic opportunities, we  want to understand that historical political, societal subtext. And I  believe that employers have the obligation to understand that. 


00:10:41Dr. Bolen 

And so, when you're thinking about pushing for increased recruitment  in historically minoritized population, you're thinking about anti biased training for individuals from the CEO to the male carrier. And  you're thinking about how sort of you sponsor sort of non-white  employees for high potential leadership development programs. It's  important for you to have sort of that historical context to help drive 

some of that. 


00:11:05Dr. Bolen 

And also, to be abreast as to the research, what is the research  showing? I mean, it's showing that that black African Americans are  less likely than their white peers to be hired, to be developed, and  ultimately, to be promoted. And that their sort of lived experience in  the workplace is worse even than that of other peers of color. 


00:11:24Dr. Bolen 

So, having that content knowledge, I think is incredibly important and  would behoove our employers to prioritize as they're thinking about  their own sort of PD during this particular time and particular climate. 



I love that answer, first of all. And I love the part about dialogue into  action. Just yesterday, we were talking to an employer and we were  saying kind of a discussion around what a DEI employer program  would be that PCC would partner with them. And we talked about the  need to engage in meaningful dialogue around diversity, equity, and  inclusion. 



Not just the importance, benefits, and necessities of fostering it within  a particular culture, but also, almost the moral imperative. Like in  order for it to be sustainable, it has to be internally driven and socially  just. And just like you said, it has to intrinsic. And it needs to be built  into and taken into consideration all the context that we speak about;  the historical context, the researching the realities of inequities as they  exist. So, that's a great answer. 



I would like to kind of go back a little bit and ask about - so we talked  about this being a new role, and I wanted to raise the question of how  do you prioritize your initiatives? So, I know you have a lot of stuff to  

  1. How does EWD get on your list of the top 10 things you want to  work with in your first year or two- 



No pressure. 



No pressure, no pressure. But we want to be engaging because we do  feel strongly that kind of workforce development is kind of like a  gateway for mobility and equity. And we want to be an integral part of  that. And we want to understand our roles too. We want to understand  barriers that we may be able to eliminate. And also, an honest  dialogue about barriers that we may contribute to. 



So, kind of thinking about that as the role of the Chief Diversity,  Equity & Inclusion Officer, all the initiatives on campus, all the things  that you need to weigh in at a federal state and institutional level:  regulations, norms, and all of this - how do you determine where to  focus first and where do you think you'll focus your energy first? And  the second part of that is how can EWD partner with you? 


00:13:37Dr. Bolen 

I appreciate the question, and I also appreciate sort of you recognizing  the breadth of the role, because it really is kind of a Jack of all trades.  And I mean the other part of that piece is a master of none. The hope  is that you are a master of several of those things, right? Because you  

are having to your point, to have a competency and change  management, a competency in organizational development, a  competency and critical race theory, psychology and law to a greater 



00:14:03Dr. Bolen 

And of course, I'm not certainly saying that I have mastery in all those  areas, but you do have to have sort of a broad stroke knowledge of all  in order to adequately, I would say, assess the work and ultimately,  make recommendations towards greater equity. 


00:14:15Dr. Bolen 

So, I consider my role as a diversity strategist, and really what that  means is that I kind of stand in a position to kind of facilitate the  development of diversity as not just an initiative, but really, as a lens,  right through which we do goal-setting, action, and measuring of  success. At least that's how I see it. 


00:14:35Dr. Bolen 

And a scholar that I tend to lean on quite often is Author Damon  Williams. He speaks to great length to the role of the CDO and just  overall strategic diversity and leadership. And he talks about its  primary function being to sort of explore ways to improve  organizational culture and campus communities, quality of life for all  constituencies. That's really kind of at the core of it. That's kind of  like in a nutshell. 


00:14:58Dr. Bolen 

And that really is quite a feat, as you mentioned. So, again, I really  appreciate that sort of acknowledgement because everyone wants  something or needs something different. That's just what equity work  is about. It's not equality work that's giving everybody the same thing.  But it's the equity work, meeting folks where they're at and giving  them what they need to be successful, and that might look different  across the spectrum. 


00:15:19Dr. Bolen 

And so, we're really having to kind of evaluate the environment to  which sort of multiple individuals from a cross-section of  backgrounds are a part of, and then thinking through creating  intervention sort of tools to make the environment conducive for all.  And that's in part why I don't do this work in a vacuum, I don't do it in  a silo. This work is done in community, and it's also process-driven  work. 


00:15:46Dr. Bolen 

And really, the reason why it's so important and I think for me, so  rewarding to do it in community, is because diversity benefits  everyone. I mean, the entire community has a stake in diversity  efforts. And in my role, the primary focus is really to enable sort of a  multipronged approach to meeting those diversity aims and doing so  sort of in community thinking through concrete and measurable  outcomes, thinking through what does a cultural shift or  transformation look like, and who does it impact? And who's at the  table to make those recommendations and share that narrative. 


00:16:21Dr. Bolen 

And so, I've been engaging in a listening tour since my start in  November, really to do just that. Really sort of identify really the  response to that very question that you posed, and identify sort of  

where are the deepest gaps and where are the untapped resources, and  what might be sort of our best approaches to addressing them. 


00:16:42Dr. Bolen 

So, I mean, I'm already thankful for the partnership and collaboration  that I've had with EWD in thinking through and centering really the  equity conversation, creating platforms like this, and inviting me to  

the platform to kind of sort of highlight and elevate the conversation  around diversity and inclusive excellence. 


00:16:58Dr. Bolen 

And I think creating more sort of conversational communities and  identifying sort of in community what those needs are based on the  constituencies that we represent, is a large part of sort of what that  partnership can look like and should look like moving forward. 



Do you think - and this might be a loaded question. I'm wondering as  an institution, as we do this work, as we shift mindsets and culture  and processes and policies and really addressing those barriers that we  can have control over, some of the barriers that we don't have control  over outside of our building here, outside of our campus, what could  we do outside of this college to address those barriers and or help  remove them? 



What happens first? I mean, we're part of other economic  development agencies as partners: the Workforce Development  Board, the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership, LAEDC, et  cetera, etcetera. And we do a lot of work on really the skills  development for new talent, upskilling the existing talent. We do a lot  of work around that. 



But I feel as though, we're missing the fact that we're not seeing it  through the lens. Sometimes, we don't see it through the lens of  diversity, equity, and inclusion. Like we're so concerned about - and  we should be, and not that we're not. We want to put more folks in the  workforce, build the local economy, get the skills that folks need to  have that upward mobility. 



So, we're doing a lot of fostering and cultivating and nurturing, but  sometimes, I don't think that we are intentional in our work about 

seeing it through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. And I  wonder if there's outside barriers that you see that you think that you  might say this is something that we should probably focus on as an  institution outside of these buildings. 


00:19:04Dr. Bolen 

Yeah, no, that's a good question. It reminds me of an article that I was  reading and actually, a colleague of mine had sent it to my attention. It  was a report that was on employment trends and it found that 2020  presented greater challenges for employers looking to expand their  workforce. 


00:19:21Dr. Bolen 

It was talking about sort of as the country's labor market is kind of  near full employment and job openings are remaining at high levels,  that sort of thing. And it gave sort of an example of sort of the  industry around technology and technology hiring. The report  revealed from, I guess, a survey of IT hiring decision-makers that  around, I think it was 86% reported challenges finding skilled  workers. 


00:19:42Dr. Bolen 

But it was interesting that I got that article and I'd just left a  conference where the keynote speaker - it was an information  technology conference - had just shared that there had been some  recent research done concerning R1 universities that showed that they  were graduating black students at twice the rate that leading tech  companies were hiring them. 


00:20:04Dr. Bolen 

So, my question was like, so why is that? And so, I think that EWD  really positions colleges to be responsive to employers, but also, to  the needs of individuals entering into today's labor market. There's a  disconnect, I mean, with just the little bit of information that I just 

shared with you. And so, I think for me, my response to that would be  we've got to engage in building a robust system of advocacy and one  that really centers on social support. 


00:20:35Dr. Bolen 

And you can do that with community partners, you can do that  internally if you're coming from sort of the post-secondary institution  space, but that really needs to be sort of at the core of it. How we kind  

of think about supporting the narrative around workforce  development needs to be interrogated a bit, how we sort of invite  others into that discussion, and how we encourage bridge-building. 


00:20:57Dr. Bolen 

Especially if I'm thinking from the context of the college with our  empowerment programs, historically, address the needs of our  minoritized populations, and what does that support and what does it  look like for us to promote collaboration, and what can that impact  sort of look like in response to this sort of competitive 21st-century  workforce? 


00:21:16Dr. Bolen 

You know, Salvatrice, you and I have had some good conversation  around what does it look like for us to increase efforts around  integrating our credit and non-credit workforce training programs to  really, again, better meet sort of the shifting need around the labor  workforce and looking at our non-credit courses, and the labor market  demands and thinking through maybe even new non-credit programs  and employer certificates, especially in light of where we are. 


00:21:45Dr. Bolen 

So, I think the other piece, as far as support and partnership and  coalition building, is funding. I mean, I know that that's probably the  tip of everyone's tongue, but especially where we're at now over the  next several years, depending on the industry that you're in, budget 

cuts is kind of, I mean, a norm. And they'll certainly impact sort of  community colleges, for sure; ability to invest in new workforce  programs and even maintain existing ones. 


00:22:10Dr. Bolen 

But I think the other piece are that community college workforce  training programs, what they'll want to sort of think about is how best  to sort of maximize our online and remote instruction. So, when we're  

thinking about what does support look like? How do we continue to  address some of the equity gaps, whether it be digital or so forth,  that's one piece; thinking about sort of traditional occupational  programs and how they rely on in-person, hands-on instruction,  particularly in the trades, and how colleges will likely have to come  up with creative ways to help workforce training faculty adopt new  ways of teaching. 


00:22:43Dr. Bolen 

So, yeah, again, I'm probably sharing more issues than I am solutions,  but it ultimately is us kind of thinking through what does that  infrastructure of care and support look like for one another, especially  during sort of this twin pandemic, and what does our investment look  like? 


00:23:00Dr. Bolen 

I'm thinking about our work-based learning approaches and  apprenticeships, internships, and kind of our co-op education. You  know, you think about sort of how financial barriers often prevent our  low-income students from accessing those high-quality internships,  many of which are really unpaid, traditionally unpaid. 


00:23:19Dr. Bolen 

So, what does it look like for us to create sort of those community  partners, with employers who are sort of holding fast to interrupting  that and providing competitive salary options for internships so that 

we can address some of those critical concerns for particular  populations. 


00:23:38Dr. Bolen 

And so, we have to take sort of a targeted intervention approach to the  work. And again, as mentioned, we do it in community. 



You mentioned that you raised more issues than solutions, and I think  that that's probably because there are more issues than solutions. And  going back to what you said earlier about action, I'm wondering, how  

do we move the work from just talk around DEI into actual action.  Like we talked about engaging, we need to engage students, faculty,  staff into the meaningful efforts around DEI. We need to engage  employers. 



I'm glad you mentioned our work-based learning initiative and the  need to get employers to agree to paid internships, because that is  some of the work that's being done right now. And within all the  pillars of EWD, we're trying to being intentional with the  programming and looking at it in a different lens. 



Thinking about what you said earlier about giving everyone the same  thing is not equity. Kind of understanding where folks are meeting  them where they are and giving them what they need, that's when we  think about being intentional in our programming, that's what we talk  about. 



But how do we move into action? Like how do we start moving those  bricks? Like what's your plan for the area of your purview, and then 

so that we can model that in our own efforts to start taking action too? 


00:24:55Dr. Bolen 

Great question. I think first there, I mean, really needs to be kind of a  shift in our understanding of why diversity matters. I know that much  of the research shows that a more diverse community improves  learning, problem-solving, enhances research - you can just kind of go  down sort of the laundry list, I don't have to convince you all. 


00:25:15Dr. Bolen 

But so, I mean, we need to start setting kind of our values in that  work, and that includes a commitment to financial and human  resources around the work. So, that's certainly a major piece. I  

remember following the events of May 25th, seeing organizations  just, I mean, just move quickly towards DEI efforts, whether it was  around hiring efforts, or as I mentioned, providing more resources to  go towards particular PD training and that sort of thing. 


00:25:43Dr. Bolen 

I mean, there was real momentum following those events. And for  some of them, they've been sustainable and for others, they've been  quite symbolic, and that's what we want to get away from. So, that's  why for me, I mean, one of the biggest pieces is identifying sort of  where do we set our values as it relates to DEI? 


00:26:03Dr. Bolen 

And one of the reasons why for me this position was so attractive is  that our fearless leader, Superintendent and President, Dr. Endrijonas  decided to place this position at the executive level. That's not  universal. And that in and of itself sent a messaging around the  priority of this work. 


00:26:20Dr. Bolen

I think we also need to ... in thinking about sort of moving the work  from talk to action, that we need to sort of change the narrative  around, what does it mean to center diversity inclusion within the  workplace in particular, and even on college campuses. Again, it not  being sort of that diversity check box - we got X amount of  individuals from Y group, we've met the diversity quota, et cetera. 


00:26:41Dr. Bolen 

And in addition to that, you'll also hear statements even on higher  education campuses that say we care about diversity, but we want to  make sure we're not lowering the bar. And if I had a dollar for every  time someone said that, my goodness, I wouldn't have to show up to  work today. And that's really discouraging. 


00:26:58Dr. Bolen 

You know, we need to make sure that we have a shared understanding  and a shared sense of responsibility and responsibility around this  work. This is not my work, it's our work and I'm privileged to be a  

part of it. But we really need to sort of be in concert with recognizing  the vast benefits to diversity and then creating those conversational  communities that are driving those changes, and then holding one  another accountable. 


00:27:23Dr. Bolen 

I honestly need to have like accountability t-shirt company, because I  would wear that everyday. Accountability is absolutely crucial. It's  key. 



That's key. It's absolutely key. 


00:27:35Dr. Bolen

Absolutely. It's the cornerstone of this work in particular. And I would  argue much of just work in general, you're not going to be successful  or even meet your bottom line without an accountability piece as part  of it. So, when I think about shifting from conversation to action, the  accountability piece continues to sort of bubble up to the surface. 


00:27:57Dr. Bolen 

In my role right now, I think I'm spending much of my time doing  community building. Much of what I'm doing actually is in around  diversity mapping. And it affords us kind of this reflexive opportunity  to do some self-inquiry. And kind of think about our campus structure  and how it's grounded in diversity and what that looks like in terms of  values and principles and goals and outcomes. 


00:28:24Dr. Bolen 

And most especially, I would say, resource allocation. And so, if I'm  thinking about how EWD and others can kind of get on board with  that, I would almost encourage other departments and divisions and  entities to do just that, to do their own self-inquiry and do their own  

diversity mapping, and think through what their diversity efforts look  like, their programs and courses and curriculum and so forth, and who  are they impacting? Who are they leaving out? 


00:28:50Dr. Bolen 

And as I mentioned before, identifying what those larger gaps are and  where some of those untapped resources are, and then thinking very  intentionally and critically about creating infrastructure to either  address those and or to do some dismantling. There's nothing wrong  with doing some dismantling as long as you've got a plan for  rebuilding. 



It's probably necessary.


00:29:12Dr. Bolen 

Yeah, I would think so. 



I mean, if you want to build a robust system of advocacy, it's going to  be necessary to dismantle some stuff. 


00:29:21Dr. Bolen 

That's absolutely right. That's absolutely right. And that's a hard pill to  swallow, especially for peers of ours that have been doing it the same  way for quite some time. That's why, as I mentioned, us identifying  that shared understanding and appreciation for diversity not in  rhetoric, but in its actual application, is really important. It's kind of a  step one. 



Yeah. That's awesome. I mean, I can see that for sure being the case  because we hear it all the time: "Well, that's how we've always done  it." Any given process, like folks in general have a problem with  change and process changes and things like this, and this is a major  shift in thinking, and it's a major shift in perspective. Particularly,  when people don't see themselves as maybe part of ... I don't want to  say part of the problem, but you know what I'm saying? They don't  see themselves- 


00:30:13Dr. Bolen 

No, no, you should say that. 



They're part of the problem. They don't see themselves as part of the  problem. It's not enough to just do no harm anymore. Now, you have 

to actively do something right. 


00:30:27Dr. Bolen 

That's right. You want to be part of the solution. 



Part of the solution. It's not okay just to do nothing anymore. And  that's a challenge to change that. 


00:30:36Dr. Bolen 

Yeah, I think the other piece that as you were speaking, just made me  think of it - I think the other sort of obstacle or hurdle is diversity  fatigue. It really is a real thing. 



It is, it is. 


00:30:45Dr. Bolen 

And you can probably ask any other diversity practitioner. I mean,  you become exhausted around discussions of diversity and inclusion,  especially if you're in a particular industry where I mean, there is no  movement. And so, again, we have to kind of, sort of help people  think about and talk about diversity differently. And I think that only  sort of begins by us kind of sitting at the table and sort of unpacking  what it means to us individually. And that's where that self examination comes in. 


00:31:20Dr. Bolen 

And to your point, acknowledging that sort of braze in racism and  sexism and so forth that exists within us and or within our  communities and so forth and wanting to be a part of sort of that shift 

and that transformation, and that change is really step one. 


00:31:37Dr. Bolen 

I was part of a conversation the other day, and I appreciated what a  colleague had said. They were talking about black economics, and  they shared out that you can't have black economic liberation without  having black education justice. And then you can't have black  education justice without having again black ... or rather having black  liberation. 


00:32:01Dr. Bolen 

So, I appreciate that. That if we're thinking about liberation of  communities, it requires economic justice and it requires educational  justice. And so, that's really the nexus. That's really the piece that  needs to be across industries, sort of at the forefront of how we're  thinking about addressing DEI concerns and or centering it within sort  of the workforce conversation - is that that liberation is beyond the  equity piece. And it's looking at justice across the board. 


00:32:31Dr. Bolen 

And yeah, so if we're looking for economic stability and success and  prosperity for our colleagues and peers and students and so forth, it  doesn't happen without that. It doesn't happen without that educational  justice. It doesn't happen without justice in a number of different  areas. 


00:32:47Dr. Bolen 

So, this work, I mean, it is bone marrow deep - it is bone marrow  deep. And so, for our colleagues that see it as just terminology that  we're using right now, because of the particular national global  climate or a fad or something that's not as important as it needs to be,  or some sort of structural piece, like let's just make sure we have X  amount of representation - they are sorely mistaken,



Right. And they're not going to move forward. And they're not going  to help us get to that important nexus for liberation and education.  You're not going to get there unless folks get there with you, right? 


00:33:23Dr. Bolen 

That's right. 



Thank you so much, Dr. Bolen. 


00:33:26Dr. Bolen 

Thank you. 



It sounds like you have a good charge in front of us, a positive charge,  and all of us need to just have to do so much work in collaborating  and doing this work together. And know that you have a partner here  at PCC, and we look forward to working closer with you. 



But thank you so much for spending your morning with us. And Dr.  Bolen, if we have audience or members who'd like to get in touch  with you, can they do that? Can they connect with you? 


00:33:53Dr. Bolen 

Absolutely. I mean, that is one thing for sure that I make myself  accessible and available. So, please encourage your listeners to get in  touch with me. I have some coffee chats coming up. If you're a  member of the Pasadena community. If you're not, you can find my  phone number online, please reach out. I mean, I'd love to hear your 




Thank you so much. We'll put your contact information in the show  notes. Thank you for listening, and we'll catch you at the next episode. 



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