SENG

Directors’ Corner: How Do We Celebrate Diversity: Recognize, Appreciate, and Validate Multiculturalism

by Kristina Henry Collins

Greetings and Happy Black History Month!

As February comes to an end, many of us are closing out the month with grand finales of our individual, organizational, and/or collective celebrations of the contributions that African Americans have made in American history. What better time than now, to extend these reflections and avow commitment, “to empower [ALL] families and [ALL] communities to guide [ALL] gifted and talented individuals to reach their goals: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.” That is SENG’s mission (literally) and my commitment to the members of SENG and the gifted community. It is also my challenge to you as we venture into the new year and a new era of leadership for SENG.

It is with great pleasure and honor that I greet you as your new President-Elect for AY 2018-2019. As President-Elect, in addition to supporting the President in her visionary leadership and governance of SENG, it is my shared responsibility and specific duty as designated in the bylaws and policy manual to oversee the delivery of SENG’s mission and programming. In a previous SENG article, Unpacking SENG’s Mission, Vision, & Values: A Framework and Standard for Comprehensive Support of the Gifted Across the Lifespan (Collins, May 2017), I reflected on that mission, referring to it as an appropriate framework to align social, emotional, and cultural programming for whole-child talent development across a gifted individual’s lifespan. It is that reflection that I standby as my guide and frame to execute my duties as your President-Elect. I am committed to making sure that we provide evidence of our mission statement in our own programs – programs that recognize, appreciate, and validate the diversity and culture of all families and communities.

Adopting a multicultural approach to development and understanding, “we understand that parents and communities do not ‘hand off’ their young as empty vessels to the educators and the schools to fill and teach. Students come with diverse manifestations of gifts connected to the experiences and value of their families and communities” (Collins, 2017).  As such,

  1. We recognize the values and perspective that culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) families and communities instill in their members.
  2. We appreciate (i.e. give value to) the cultural capital and diverse manifestation of talent that gifted, CLD individuals offer as benefit to the larger community, and
  3. We validate, in terms of development and guidance, the unique needs of  the gifted, CLD individual.

To maximize SENG’s potential for global impact, I also ask you to partner with me in my role and responsibilities to ensure that SENG fully realizes its mission and vision. Join me in changing the deficit narrative and negative connotations around actions such as accommodation and adaptation in an effort to offer strength-based support. Join me in proactively engaging in dialogue, practice, and scholarly research that recognize, appreciate, and validate with further guidance, the development of gifted, CLD individuals from around the globe through and in support of the families and communities they represent.

Please, won’t you join me! Find your fit – leave us a comment identifying which one of the committees you might want to offer a voice for your community. Join and get involved in SENG today! Find out more by visiting our website. Like us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Kristina Henry Collins, Ph.D.
AY 2018-2019 SENG President-Elect
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