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Lawrence Jackson — Encouraging Listening to Break Down Barriers

Lawrence Jackson, implementation services manager, has been with USAble life for more than five and a half years and is one of many members of USAble Life's inaugural Inclusion Council. He says, “Being on the Inclusion Council means I have a tangible way of helping to develop and champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I get to take what I've learned and apply it to my life and my community.”

Community involvement is something near and dear to Lawrence. He has volunteered for and worked with many community groups and charities, such as the Junior League of Little Rock, the Arkansas Foodbank, and Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas. As a member of the USAble Life Inclusion Council, Lawrence is part of the Safe and Inclusive Culture subcommittee that will focus on diversity and inclusion literacy and employee resources.

Lawrence believes that diversity and inclusion mean, “Our differences shouldn't just be acknowledged or tolerated but celebrated. It means that different types of people and different views should have a seat at the table so we can all learn from each other.” He adds, “And if that table gets crowded, then we need a bigger table.”

Two influential figures in diversity he'd like to invite to his table are Kimberlé Crenshaw, American lawyer, civil rights advocate, philosopher, and leading scholar of critical race theory, and the late Congressman John Lewis, American politician, statesman, and civil rights activist. Lawrence says he would like to be able to “pick Crenshaw's brain and understand more about how she views diversity and inclusion.” Lawrence says that Lewis was an inspiration due to his optimism and kindness regardless of how trying things got.

Lawrence was also greatly influenced by his grandmother, especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion. He says that if there's anything he could teach others, it would be to listen. He says, “My grandma taught me that we have two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we speak.” Lawrence believes that listening to understand each other's lives and struggles is something everyone can do. “Once we start listening, we can break down barriers we put up between one another and see how much we really have in common,” he says.

Outside of diversity and inclusion and learning to celebrate our differences, Lawrence said, “If I could change one thing in the world, I would make humans more humane. Not just to each other but ourselves, all animals, and the planet.”