I live and breathe inclusivity. Whether it’s someone who disagrees with me or someone whose voice is often kept out of a conversation especially conversations that affect them I move to include them and hear what they’ve got to say even if we disagree. Here are steps so you can do that yourself in your community building leadership:

You can start off by deliberating reach out to groups that are often ignored or excluded from conversations. Who this is will most likely depend on your particular community but some commonly excluded groups are religious minorities, folks whose political beliefs are in the minority in your community, and people who work alternative schedules outside of the 9-5 grind many people work.

Another thing you can do once conversations have started is make sure quiet parties are engaged by reaching out to them and offering them opportunities to chime in and share their insights. This might not always be appropriate but it’s something organizers shouldn’t be afraid to do when the situation calls for a range of perspectives or other groups are intimidated smaller groups into silence and turning what are meant to be conversations and learn opportunities into photo ops.

Other tactics that can be done include private meetings where there is no pressure for minority viewpoints and groups to be silent and they can freely voice their opinions as well as the establishment of communications channels for these groups to share their insights with community leaders and organizers safely, maybe even anonymously. Communities deserve to have access to a wide range of insights, experiences, and opinions and going out of someone’s way to gather and hear those insights, experiences, and opinions is part of the hard work that goes into community building and leadership.