Hearts On Parade Handcrafted Jewelry #VANDAinspired

Celebrate Diversity

One of the most beautiful things about this world is its diversity. There is such a huge variety of plants, animals, rocks and, of course, people.

Various cultures and belief systems, the range of pale to ebony skin tones, a full spectrum of gender orientations, and every body shape and size imaginable... With so many differences between us humans, it can sometimes feel difficult to recognize our similarities. But we do have a lot in common. We all have human bodies that can be nurtured or injured. We all have human minds with the ability to perceive experiences and process information. We all have human hearts that can be openly shared and easily wounded.

These thoughts have been my focus in creating VANDA inspired's newest collection.

Hearts On Parade jewelry is a celebration of diversity, honoring who we are as individuals and how we are shaped by our personal journeys. Just like us, each heart has it’s own uniqueness, reflecting the process that it’s undergone to become what it is today. The creation of this collection is my expression of honor for all the differences and similarities between us. We are all hearts shaped by our experiences… and we are all beautiful.

The discussion of honoring diversity and creating inclusion can be challenging for many. Everyone has some preconceived notions about someone, which can sometimes be hard to identify, little alone change. But if we could grow a little more as individuals and connect with others in meaningful ways, we can create a healthier world for future generations. With that in mind, here are a few ideas to help nurture respect for others, expand our worldviews, and open doors for a deeper appreciation of what our humanity has to offer.

Be more self-aware and open-minded
Broadening a sense of respect for diversity starts by taking a realistic look at ourselves. We can evaluate any prejudices we may have toward a specific type of people and consider where those ideas came from. Often, our dislike of certain groups comes from someone else – parents, peers, media. As social creatures, it’s our nature to adopt the ideas of others to fit in. Historically, being accepted by our own group is an important function of safety. But realizing that the increased inter-connectivity of our world means we no longer need to be safe in small isolated groups, but rather, we can consider all of humanity one large group living and working together on this planet.

Develop an appreciation for other cultures
With technology and connection come resources. Understanding other groups of people has become easier than ever because we can consume content from different perspectives and seek out common ground. Perhaps we would never choose to live that lifestyle, but maybe we can identify with the underlying struggle those people have been through on their journey to today. We can expand our minds by watching movies, reading books, and listening to music from various walks of life. Enjoy cultural experiences in-person by attending local festival and art exhibits. One of my favorite ways to connect with others is food; I love sharing foods from around the globe.

Reach out and (maybe) make a new friend
The best way I can think to understand someone different than me is by engaging with them. Our world is filled with opportunities to connect. We can invite a co-work from another culture or group to lunch and get to know them better. We can bring some traditional food from our family to a neighbor and ask them to someday share some food from theirs. We can talk with someone who has a different view than us on social media (in a respectful, non-judgmental way). Who knows where these kind of interactions may lead, possibly even to some of the most beautiful friendships.

Support small and minority owned business
A great way to honor diversity is by supporting the many wonderful small businesses owned by a variety of people – online and locally. We can all use support and encouragement in whatever we do with our lives. When we support small and minority owned businesses we are supporting the hopes and dreams of others. Often these dreams are to create the ability for their children to have better opportunities in life than their parents did. When we support each other our community grows stronger and we are all uplifted.

Respecting diversity and inclusivity is a fundamental part of VANDA inspired's core value: people. I created Hearts On Parade with the intention that every wearer both feels inspired in their individuality and connected to the greater community of human beings.

We are responsible for creating change and there is always hope.
Wanda @ VANDA inspired
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