The work of NCBI — its mission, its workshops and trainings, its network of resource teams, and its contribution to long-lasting institutional and social change — is guided by several core principles and key insights. These principles and insights provide a useful overview for the many web pages that follow.
- Every issue counts. NCBI addresses a wide range of diversity issues in the course of its programs, including race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic class, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and job and life circumstance. Prejudice and discrimination cannot be eliminated in one area while continuing to exist in another.
- Personal stories change attitudes. Listening to accounts of discrimination can impart a new perspective on how devastating the impact and move people with racist and other prejudicial attitudes to become allies of those they have mistreated.
- Eliminating mistreatment means ending “leadership oppression.” Leaders often experience isolation and a lack of support, sometimes bordering on abuse. NCBI trains them to handle conflict and respond effectively to attacking behaviors. Everyone is taught respect and appreciation for leaders and their efforts, especially when disagreeing with them. Well-supported leaders are more likely to be a source of sound policies.
- Differences among individuals need not lead to discrimination and divisiveness. NCBI’s Welcoming Diversity / Prejudice Reduction Workshop, for example, encourages participants to confront deeply-held misinformation about themselves and others, to tell their own stories of discrimination in order to build understanding among people, and to learn skills for building bridges.
- Differences among groups can be a community asset. While sometimes overshadowed by misinformation and misunderstanding that needs to be addressed, every group has enormous strengths. Constituency Caucus Programs provide safe, unfiltered environments in which to build authentic pride in shared wisdom, traditions, and heritage, voice common concerns, and build greater unity.
- Differences on issues need not divide communities. Rigid confrontational positions can be reframed to take into account the profound concerns of both sides. NCBI’s Controversial Issues Process provides leaders with the skills needed to identify common ground and to create mutually-acceptable strategies for handling difficult issues.