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Finding Your Identity and Embracing Diversity

Wanda Holopainen, Creative Mind

We grew up around Jyväskylä and Niinikoski in the '90s in a single mom household with our Finnish mom and our two Finnish-Swiss brothers without the presence of our Father. Without the presence of our Father, African culture, and the knowledge and guidance of being a minority representative in a society of inequality, it was challenging to develop a strong identity in our early years. Thus, a lot was left to us to acknowledge and experience on our own throughout our adulthood.

Finding our identity has been a long journey of gaining awareness and learning from others as we go. Our mother did not know about the internal feelings and emotions we phased. Being different than the majority of society and even standing out from the family. She did not know about the hardships or struggles that we were dealing with and would have to continue phasing as she was unaware of the topics regarding diversity and maybe felt like she was protecting us by not emphasizing our diversity. Thus, we learned through encounters and experiences. Internally we felt like we were no different than a 'typical' Finn. But how does it affect your identity when your community questions existence and does not see you as one of them?

Driving for Inclusion and Social Sustainability in Business

Finding our identity as proud members of the POC community, or Finns did not come overnight. And it would feel contradictory to stand in front of you today without telling you the full story. Finding our identity required curiosity and us to travel around the world to raise our awareness and knowledge. Without our journey to discover our identity as Finnish-Ghanaians, we would not be able to stand here speaking our truth and driving for inclusion and social sustainability in business. We are grateful and appreciative of the journey that has taught us so much about people's various cultures and perspectives. About the cracks in the system and the hidden challenges in the social structure. Without the appreciation and acknowledgment of our journey, who would we be? But here we stand now proud and loud.

Bringing Awareness to the System and Driving People to Take Proactive Steps Towards Diversity

We are demanding and asking organizations and brands to accept a lack of knowledge to be curious enough to learn and find out more about minority representatives for the system to take steps towards inclusion and diversity. Without a change in our business structures, in our systems, and in our social structures, we cannot move towards sustainable development. It is always good to remind ourselves that sustainability is built on three pillars: social, environmental, and economic. Before organizations take action and create measurements that consider social inclusiveness, it will be tough to move towards a society and environment that can be sustained in the long term. This year has been a great demonstration of what happens to the system that is built on capitalism when the environment and social structure fail. With more knowledge and awareness, let us move forwards and take steps towards inclusion and diversity to develop sustainable practices and systems.

Let us move forwards and take steps towards inclusion and diversity to develop sustainable practices and systems that can be sustained in the long term.

We hope that the current global movements and circumstances are bringing awareness to the system and driving people to take proactive steps towards diversity.

A little photo collection from the protest and march that took place in Helsinki, Finland on June 3rd. Let's support equality. Together we can create a future that empowers everyone.


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