Sheena Carey: a champion for diversity and inclusion

Sheena Carey, internship coordinator and lecturer for the Diederich College of Communication, was honored with Marquette University’s Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion award, given annually to a staff member whose leadership and practice related to diversity, equity and inclusion stands out on campus. Below are her acceptance remarks from the awards ceremony. Congratulations, Sheena!

Ubuntu — “the belief that we all are defined by our compassion and humanity towards others.”

Thank you to my family of friends and colleagues who are here — and those who are not — and celebrate this honor with me. They, as well as my first teachers — my parents — have each in their own way — personally and professionally — taught me about the value of inclusion. They have played a large part in how I see and navigate the world.

Thank you also to those who nominated and campaigned for me to receive this award, although when I got the notification that I was a finalist, I was perplexed. I was nominated to receive an award for living and breathing? That is ultimately how I see my work on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion — it is simply what must be done, what I must do to survive.

I have been on or around Marquette’s campus since I was 18 years old and this year marks my 66th year of life — I leave you to do the math. If during that time I have played a role in helping students, staff, and faculty feel that “when and where they enter” Marquette and beyond that they are welcome, belong, and have a voice and space to be, then I am grateful for the recognition.

I am glad and sad (not glad) that there is such an award as “Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion.” Glad that this work is being done by some and recognized by others; sad (not glad) that it seems to be an extraordinary thing to see the humanity, dignity, value and contributions of all people and work to ensure that it is always thus.

As a human being in this world, it more than feels like right, it is right. It is what I believe, it is who I am. It is my mission to work with and interact with anyone and everyone so they feel the rightness of inclusion for all; to share with them lessons learned about justice at my mother’s knee and through my family of friends and colleagues, through my life experiences, as a student, alum, faculty member, and staff employee here at Marquette.

I hope that one day it will be impossible to grant this award because we are all doing this work extraordinarily and ordinarily, automatically and naturally, living and breathing inclusion for all because it is simply the right thing to do.

Thank you.

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