What if 2020 was our fallow year to rest and to weed out what is holding us back in our lives, workplaces and communities? What if, in 2021 we focused on building belonging and collectively drew on our courage to plant what we want to grow?

Would we see the emergence of a true culture of belonging in small pockets around the world?

I firmly believe that at the heart of any given social problem, you will find a group of people who feel pushed out.  In my experience, when we listen to this group of people and support their dignity, voice and talents we will unleash the innovation and creativity our world sorely needs.

Building belonging, awareness and action with CPABC

I see it time and time again; build a genuine culture of belonging and magic happens. This last year, I have been working with the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC (CPABC) on a project to build awareness and action on Vancouver Island. Drawing on the Belonging Matters framework and suite of trainings, we’ve been working closely with people living with cerebral palsy, supporting their voice and leadership.

During our Belonging Matters Conversations series with people living with cerebral palsy, they identified their priority challenge they wanted to explore: how to address stigma within themselves, from teachers and the larger community.

Wisdom from people living with cerebral palsy

Below are three of their gems of building belonging wisdom we can all learn from:
  • “Stigma is a slow and deliberate way of eroding connectedness.”

  • “Ableism is the embodiment of opposites. It is able-bodied people trying to resolve that they too will be disabled at some point, like when they age.”

  • “The more you can connect to yourself and know who you are, the less stigma will impact you.”
You may want to take a moment to see if stigma has ever impacted your life. If so, how has it eroded your sense of connectedness? How can you connect more to yourself and know who you are?

To learn more about the Belonging Matters cerebral palsy group’s insights:

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Project on Vancouver Island - Belonging Matters Conversations

Gratitude for all who are building belonging...

As we launch into 2021, I’d like to thank all who follow Intercultural Strategies for being part of this Belonging Matters journey.

I’m excited to announce the Belonging Matters suite of trainings that we will be drawing on to support the Vancouver Island Cerebral Palsy Awareness Project as well as many other initiatives on diverse topics to build a culture of belonging.
Intercultural Strategies - Belonging Matters framework - training options and programs
I can’t wait to see what talents get unleashed and the magic that is sure to follow.

Looking forward to staying connected and together planting the seeds that we want to grow.
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About the Author

Jessie Sutherland

An international speaker, trainer, and consultant, Jessie Sutherland works with organizations and communities to engage diversity, build belonging and ignite intercultural collaboration. Her approach creates sustainable community change that effectively addresses a wide range of complex social problems.

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