Speaker talks about how diversity,
inclusion make an organization stronger
Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Michael Carden,
Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
David Harrison (fourth from left), senior director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services at The Ohio State University and a former Marine, is recognized by Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman (third from left), Ohio adjutant general, for being the keynote speaker during an Ohio National Guard Leadership Development Series program in celebration of African-American History Month Feb, 22, 2017, at the Maj. Robert S. Beightler Armory in Columbus, Ohio. Harrison’s presentation was called, “What is Diversity and Inclusion, and Why is it Important,” and he spoke on how individual differences can contribute to create a stronger structure, which can benefit everyone.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (02/22/17) — In celebration of African-American History Month, the Ohio National Guard Leadership Development Series recently hosted a presentation called, “What is Diversity and Inclusion, and Why is it Important,” featuring David Harrison, the senior director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services at The Ohio State University and a former Marine.
“Only through the merging of individual differences,” Harrison said, “can we capitalize on the contributions of all to create a stronger structure, which we can all benefit from. If we want to be more than we are, we have to (aspire) to more than we ever have.”
Harrison shared stories from his life growing up in the South as an African-American. When recounting watching his father, a foreman on a construction site, continue to work while some white employees took a break, he expressed his father’s determination to take the high road.
“Son, in order to provide for you,” Harrison’s father said, “I have to do what others don’t have to do.”
Harrison’s time in the Marines also helped shape his views. When out with fellow noncommissioned officers who were all white, he was heckled by a civilian for his race. Rather than let the matter stand, the other NCOs went to talk to the man, telling Harrison, “Sgt. Harrison, sit down, we’ll take care of this.”
After having been talked to by the NCOs and confronted about his actions, the man came over and apologized.
“We are doing better, but we can do even better.” Harrison said. “We cannot be satisfied with just doing better, we can’t forget about the past and the struggle. We shouldn’t forget the past, but it should give us strength and encouragement for a better tomorrow.”