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.
In the last edition of the Lakeshore Light, the Lakeshore Excellence Foundation was proud to announce that the foundation board, along with diversity club members and residents, had recently participated in a training session on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) conducted by Afiya Latham, co-owner of Express Employment Professionals.
Much to our dismay, after the article was published, Ms. Latham received an anonymous message on her answering machine. The caller told her that she “needs to stop” and “that parents don’t want that junk in the school.” The message went on to say that “everything is fine the way it is.”
We understand that social change takes effort and people often make unintentional mistakes. We believe that compassion should be extended to everyone, including those who are learning to navigate a more diverse and inclusive community where everyone feels as if they belong. But in this case, this message was very intentional. The Lakeshore Excellence Foundation cannot sit idly by without addressing this misinformed stance on DEI.
Contrary to the message left by the caller, everything is not fine the way it is. We stand for excellence, which in itself is a high standard. It is through higher expectations, raising the bar and refusing to settle for “everything is fine as it is,” that we create more opportunity and a feeling of belonging for everyone within our community.
We will continue to make an effort to expose people to diversity so we can increase the likelihood of positive change in support of achieving true inclusion and excellence for all.