Afiya Latham is Co-Owner of Express Employment Professionals, an award-winning staffing company in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa. Recently named a Corp! Magazine Diversity Business Leader, Afiya serves as a coach, mentor, and public speaker empowering women of all ages to cultivate their talents and seize their opportunities. As a leader of DEI Training, she is a vital reference and first contact for companies seeking to implement or expand DEI programs within their organizations.
The Lakeshore Excellence Foundation was recently joined by Lakeshore High School Prism Club and Diversity Club members, and local residents, for a special Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training session.
The event, organized by LEF’s DEI committee, was offered as part of our organization’s ongoing commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in an effort to reduce the achievement gap and support building a culture of inclusion in our school district.
The LEF Board of Trustees welcomed local entrepreneur and DEI Trainer, Afiya Latham, to Lakeshore High School, where she offered insight into the many benefits of a diverse workforce, and how we can all better think with a broader perspective to achieve a deeper trust from our students and staff, that in turn creates an environment where all children receive the best education possible.
Through interactive exercises, discussion, and explanation, those in attendance walked away with a better understanding of what each component of DEI truly means, and how it can be put into practice to make sure every child has the ability to succeed. One example Latham used explained the difference between equity and equality.
“Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities,” said Latham. “Equality is not enough. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.”
Latham went on to explain that belonging and equity are connected, and pressed our district and educators to ask students what they need to do well and what that looks like. She said by collecting data on these initiatives the district can hold itself accountable – achieving true excellence.
“Our community is getting more diverse, not less,” said Latham. “We have to plan for it to make sure we are serving the needs of all students who live here and go to our school district. The school board and the superintendent have a wonderful opportunity to set the tone for our community by supporting policies that will keep all students in an equitable position when it comes to academics, the social learning community and to prepare students for being residents of a greater and even more diverse world beyond where we are right now.”