No cultural leaders must either start small or recognize

one is ever culturally competent in every way with everyone, but I believe in
having an open mind towards others and their cultures.  Although I was born and lived all my life in
the United States, much of my family comes from a different culture. As a
result, I have grown up with a sensitivity towards and appreciation for different
perspectives and beliefs. Though I know what I believe in and do not allow
others to dictate what I should say or do, I am willing to listen to them and
try new things, taking risks and engaging in conversations about racism and
discrimination that may prove uncomfortable. So I am always developing my
cultural competence through my interactions with others within and outside my
family, including those who have different backgrounds and/or beliefs from my


It is from these interactions that I find the motivation
to inspire change. As one who has met countless people of different ethnic,
socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds and one who has been on the receiving
end of discrimination, I am enthusiastic about supporting those who may have
been forgotten or seen as undeserving whenever I can. In the classroom, many
papers I write advocate for minorities, particularly women. Similarly, I take
advantage of my position as
Executive Web Editor-in-Chief of our school newspaper staff to push for and publish articles relating
to acceptance, diversity, and inclusion. These opportunities allow me to stay
connected to my school and local community as well as the world, something I
view as important to being a cultural leader.

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Furthermore, I recognize that being culturally competent
is a journey, not an event, and that no one has all the answers. The best
leaders are those who intentionally develop their cultural competence through
their interactions with others and by learning from mistakes. They believe that
being inclusive but also remaining realistic is essential. Not everyone will be
willing to change and accept each other. For this reason, cultural leaders must
either start small or recognize that not everyone will be happy and that change
will take time to occur. My goal is to lead by example as well as through
encouragement in my interactions with others in order to inspire change and
advocate for diversity and inclusion within the school environment with the
hope that this will spread throughout the community. And though it may take
time, I remain positive about the future.


Diversity and inclusion are important for an educational
environment as well as the functioning of American society. Each person has
something valuable to contribute, some unique perspective or experience to
bring to the table. Research
has proven that diverse groups in a myriad of fields outperform groups composed
of the best individuals in the same areas; it has also suggested that
discrimination is a large contributing factor to unhappiness. In this light, diversity and
inclusion are integral to improving society as they can lead to better
solutions to social problems, an increase in productivity, and a happier


The school I attend is exemplary of these benefits. It
celebrates its diversity and takes pride in the 52 different countries of
origin for its students, a diverse pool of races, nationalities, religions, and
cultures. As a result, the students and staff that travel its halls understand
that diversity promotes the exchange of different ideas, which are essential to
learning and understanding each other better. In doing so, they create an
atmosphere of acceptance and cooperation in which everyone can pursue their
dreams and surpass their potential.


“Diversity really means becoming complete as human beings
– all of us. We learn from each other. If you’re missing on that stage, we
learn less. We all need to be on that stage,” as the famous poet Juan Felipe
Herrera once said. If we can understand that race, nationality, and culture are
all a part of who we are and we are willing to learn from each other’s
experiences and perspectives, we can celebrate these differences and surpass
our potential.