Celebrating Our Many Cultures

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Introduction: In this section of the Craft Brewers Guide to Cultural Observances, you’ll find a general introduction to the guide and a set of considerations to discuss with your team before planning to commemorate or celebrate a cultural observance at your business.

For years, advocates of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the craft brewing community have talked about creating more diversity. The fact of the matter, however, is that there is nothing for us to “create.” Diversity is already out there in all its complex and vibrant glory!

The United States continues to be a metaphorical melting pot for individuals from every background, system of belief, and walk of life. Statistical evidence from the U.S. Census Bureau projects that the country will continue to become more diverse in the coming years and decades. As craft brewers and allied trade members, it’s incumbent upon all of us to ensure that we are evolving with our customer base, with our community partners, with pools of qualified labor, and the ideas and innovations that we will depend upon in the future.

One of the most enjoyable outcomes of our country’s diverse make-up are the numerous cultural observances that brighten our calendars with opportunities to learn about each other and the varied histories that weave together to create the fabric of our nation. Not all of these histories are pleasant, but engaging with them gives us the opportunity to contemplate what experiences have shaped us, our families, and our neighbors. Moreover, we learn important lessons from history—especially, how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

As cornerstones of our communities, gathering places for people of all persuasions, and creators of one of the world’s most popular and culturally rich beverages, brewers are perfectly positioned to share in the celebrations that surround cultural observances. These celebrations are opportunities to learn and grow as individuals and organizations, create deeper and more authentic connections to local communities, make an introduction to new fans, and establish yourself as a potential employer for qualified talent. The DEI Education Subcommittee has created this Craft Brewers Guide to Cultural Observances to help the members of our community approach these observances with thoughtfulness, care, and respect.

Acting with Competence, Confidence, and Credibility

Many organizational leaders feel apprehensive about engaging in activities around cultural observances, especially when they do not identify with the cultures in question. The instinct to proceed with care is a good one. However, fear of “getting it wrong” (particularly when censure on social media can be unforgiving for perceived missteps), can lead to inaction and lost opportunities to build relationships. Though this framework is admittedly a simplification, your potential activities around cultural observances can be evaluated with the three C’s—confidence, competence, and credibility.

  • Confidence – Possessing the confidence to engage topics related to a cultural observance.
  • Competence – Possessing the competence to intelligently and gracefully engage in conversations and actions centered around a cultural observance.
  • Credibility – Possessing the credibility to be perceived as knowledgeable, experienced, and sincere when you engage with a cultural observance.

Chances are if you are having trouble deciding what to do or what to say in relation to a cultural observance you’d like to acknowledge, you are experiencing a lack of at least one of the three C’s. Building your organization’s confidence, competence, and credibility takes time but the potential reward is worth the investment.

The Importance of Alignment

Celebrating cultural observances, like any other activity intended to engage with the diversity of our communities, should be considered alongside overall business goals and operations. Celebrations that do not align with your existing values and purpose will lack authenticity and may end up doing more harm than good.

Start by asking two simple questions:

  • What are our existing organizational values, goals, and priorities?
  • How might celebrating one or more cultural observances help to support these existing organizational goals and priorities?

General Considerations for Celebrating Cultural Observances

Gather Input from Key Stakeholders

  • How will you connect with members of the community to collect and include their input on your plans?
  • If you intend to generate funds for a specific organization, have you gathered and included that organization’s input?
  • Are all partner organizations in sync with all elements of planning, including marketing and communications (e.g., are they actively involved and aligned on objectives and how to present them)?

Determine the Desired Impact of Your Efforts

  • Who is the primary beneficiary of your efforts—the group of people at the core of the observance or your business? If it is the latter, revisit your planning and determine how you can center the culture being celebrated.
  • How do your efforts center the culture that they are about? Will they educate, celebrate, or fundraise?
  • Have you considered ways to maximize the positive impact of your efforts through communication, invitations, or partnerships?

Ensure that Plans and the Planning Process Are Inclusive

  • Do your efforts exclude, even unintentionally, any group of people (in particular, the group of people from the cultures you are celebrating)?
  • Have you considered safety and sensitivity in all your planning processes and made use of third-party services, experts, or advisors in areas where you lack knowledge or capacity?

Develop Accountability Measures

  • Does your organization have a direct tie to the culture within your company, or within your community?
  • Have you planned ways to give attendees, employees, or members of the community a way to provide feedback about your efforts?
  • If your efforts will generate funds for donation to a specific charitable organization:
    • Have you researched what the organization does to support the culture or community at the core of your celebration?
    • Do you have a specific plan for how those funds are calculated, the timing of the donation, and who is responsible for getting the funds to that organization?