Fireworks as a Model of Successful Inclusion

As we prepare for July 4th celebrations around the country, many communities are organizing fireworks displays. One of my family’s traditions is to point out our favorites as we watch together. My daughter likes the swirly ones and my son likes the ones that are loud and bright. My husband enjoys the ones that shoot up the highest while I am most drawn to the ones that crackle.

I suspect that we are not so unique. After all, a fireworks display is most enjoyable when dozens of different patterns explode together in a bright mix of color and sound. In fact, most of us would be quick to criticize a display that had a lack of variety, too much of one color, or anything else that made it seem dull or uninteresting.

Our day-to-day lives should be a mirror image of a successful fireworks display. Experiences should be their most enjoyable when we successfully bring together a vast array of people and perspectives, merging them into a colorful and intriguing whole.

And yet, we know that this is not always the case. We know that we have a way to go before we can say that we fully celebrate such diversity. We continue to find comfort in familiarity and security in the known. We need to move our culture to a place where we look around and wonder what’s missing; rather than sitting idly by while a select few even notice those who are kept at a distance.

Quite simply, inclusion is belonging. And when we recognize that every person - yes EVERY person - has a right to belong, then, and only then, will we experience the most outstanding finale of the most spectacular fireworks display we have yet to see.

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