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2021 Multicultural Week highlighted diverse backgrounds through cultural expressions

Thank you to all our colleagues who participated in Multicultural Week! Held Oct. 18-22, 2021, this year’s events were a great success. More than 300 UCOP staff — including leaders and representatives from identity- and interest-based staff associations and affinity groups — participated in the virtual celebrations and contributed to our Cultural Expression kudoboard.

There were many opportunities for us to strengthen connections with one another by sharing stories and memories about our own cultures and listening to one another’s experiences, all while having a lot of fun! Many participants shared heartfelt, poignant and moving stories about their identities and cultural heritages.

In addition to providing information about their organizations and how to join, our affinity group colleagues shared a diverse tapestry of cultural expressions. This included personal coming out stories, a gender-inclusive children’s book reading, thrifting tips — complete with a fashion show of fabulous finds — and life-changing books by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Recitations included an excerpt of Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” and a section from Ola Popoola’s new book, “Asmaa: A tale of grace, hope and love.”

UCOP leaders on cultural diversity

Our leaders shared personal perspectives on why Multicultural Week is important to them and our organization — including how staff organizations contribute to a vibrant organizational culture. Here are some of their thoughts:

  • “It is more comfortable for me to work in a multicultural and diverse workplace — not only diversity from a racial or ethnic perspective, but also in terms of gender identity, socioeconomic backgrounds and all the other characteristics that make us who we are. This leads to a breadth of experience. At the same time, the affinity groups provide an important place for people to connect with colleagues from similar backgrounds to talk about shared challenges and joys.” — Nathan Brostrom, Executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer
  • “As you celebrate our staff affinity groups, you signal to the individuals who are involved that their views, backgrounds and the things they care about are also important.” — Alex Bustamante, Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance and Audit Officer
  • “Getting issues around diversity and inclusion right are important in every type of institution, but they’re especially important for a university because everything we do is about empowering human talent. Our colleagues who participate in staff affinity groups are a critical resource for leadership — they help us ensure an inclusive range of perspectives are at the table when we make decisions and help us to identify and remove barriers that we might not be aware of. They also provide a vehicle for fellowship and create a workplace that we can all be excited to be a part of.” — Brent Colburn, Senior Vice President, External Relations and Communications
  • “The affinity groups are very powerful because they help us discover perspectives that we may have not understood or encountered before. They are also an important part of networking and feeling safe in a work environment: Although it is critical to interact with people who hold different experiences and perspectives, once in a while, you need to sit down with your people and share your experiences collectively with people who understand you.” — Glenda Humiston, Vice President, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • “I believe strongly that celebrating the diversity of who we are makes us so much better. Multicultural Week is about taking a moment out of our crazy days to recognize that and to acknowledge the important work of our affinity groups who are creating safe spaces for people to come together to talk about shared issues and work to make us better.” — Rachael Nava, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
  • “Multicultural Week is a statement that we all belong and that we all have a contribution to make. We celebrate contributions of our colleagues from diverse backgrounds because diversity of experience is what makes us excellent.” — Charlie Robinson, General Counsel and Vice President, Legal Affairs

Share your stories and cultural expressions

It’s not too late to participate in our multicultural celebration! Check out the wonderful stories on the Cultural Expressions kudoboard. Then, post your own. Your colleagues would love to learn more about your culture, too.

Consider joining a UCOP identity- or interest-based employee affinity group

Learn more about our staff organizations by checking out their Multicultural Week presentations (see below for links). You can also find descriptions and contacts on the Office of Workplace Inclusion and Belonging website. These organizations are volunteer-based and need your help to create safe communities for employees, continue their important work and provide valuable resources.

Watch our Multicultural Week events

Experiencing FOMO – fear of missing out? View the session recordings and presentations at the links below.**

2021 Multicultural Week Session Recording – Oct. 18

2021 Multicultural Week Session Recording – Oct. 19

  • Executives: Alex Bustamante, senior vice president and chief compliance and audit officer and Brent Colburn, senior vice president, External Relations and Communications
  • Employee Resource Groups/Affinity Group presentations:

2021 Multicultural Week Session Recording – Oct. 21

2021 Multicultural Week Session Recording – Oct. 22

For questions regarding Multicultural Week, please contact Nancy Pluzdrak.

**We are aware there are some typos in the Zoom transcriptions. Thank you for your patience!



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