Diversity: the art of thinking independently together."
— Malcolm Forbes
Far be it from me to argue with the likes of the late publisher of Forbes magazine. But isn't the true benefit of diversity derived not from the act of thinking but the more arduous task of doing?
After all, what good is a bunch of people sitting around thinking independent thoughts but not putting them together toward a common purpose? That's not the definition of diversity. It's the definition of public transit.
Or, better still, it's the definition of Congress. At least strangers on public transportation are going somewhere.
My point is not to take another stab at the unwillingness of our nation's lawmakers to model the value of compromise. My purpose is to discuss the merits of hearing — and acting upon — diverse perspectives of any community, particularly our own.
Five weeks ago, we announced in a Sunday editorial the debut of our new Editorial Board Community Member program. As we noted, we recognize our own shortcomings in terms of diversity — age, gender, geographic and otherwise. In response we are inviting two members of the community, from various sectors — including education, business, nonprofits, etc. — geographic areas and demographic groups to sit on the editorial board for staggered six-month terms.
These individuals will take part in weekly editorial board meetings, interviews with community leaders and election candidates and assist in the development of editorial positions. During their time in the program, they will be regarded as full voting members of the board and will have an opportunity to write about their experience, if they want to do so.
In announcing the program, we also introduced our first community member: Lisa Carre?, regional director of 10,000 Degrees, a nonprofit that provides college access, financial advice and other scholarship help to disadvantaged students seeking college degrees. In addition to her many other activities, Carre?, a Forestville resident, also serves as chairwoman of the Sonoma County Fair.