What Inclusion Looks Like To Me – by Lauren Beja, InFocus Poet

Inclusion – The beautiful picture of what TOGETHER might look like. 

So, I was asked what inclusion looks like to me. Wow, what a question and a hope all in one!

I have often wondered why we don’t have inclusive communities throughout this country, throughout this world. Simply, we are all human beings here on earth; we breathe the same air and walk on the same ground. Who actually decided there should be class distinctions and labeling? Why is being different sometimes seen as scary or just plain bad.

I have always tried to celebrate and promote the unique qualities we all have; none better or worse than the next person. Diversity within our community breeds life, energy, colorful conversations and learning opportunities about our differences. Who said that all people cannot be celebrated as vital pieces to our communities?

I know it is hard sometimes.

No one said it would be easy.

Can you keep fighting?

Let loose and share how you feel.

Utilize this opportunity.

Speak your mind, share your voice.

I know you can do it.

Only you know how it feels.

Now is the time!!!

The thought about sharing our individual journeys in life with one another and sharing our successes and our challenges brings the inclusion opportunity to the picture. The beautiful picture of what TOGETHER might look like.

You ask me can we live in a community with inclusion; I say why not, why we don’t have this way of life as a normalcy instead of a miracle that often seems unattainable. I understand that there are those frightened by what they are unfamiliar with, what looks different, what might be “strange” to them BUT fear, hate, closemindedness are not the elements needed to live and thrive in this ever-growing possibility to unify a fractured society.

I am sure that one time in all of our lives, we have experienced not being included, do you remember?

  • Remember gym class when you weren’t picked for dodgeball?
  • Remember that one religious sect you entered and the welcome was cold because you didn’t follow the same “G-D”?
  • Remember when you saw someone with an emotional challenge getting laughed at and you did nothing? Nothing because then you might be the target of that bullying?
  • Or maybe you just remember feeling different but scared to talk about it because you would be excluded from your group?

That’s what exclusion can look like and it is not a pretty picture, is it? We can do something about it!

Is that a wall?

It’s in my way.

Can you hear me?

Can you see me?

Do you even know I am here?


I breathe the same air.

Can you hear my voice?

Are you even trying?

Must I knock down these barriers

against freedom,

against inclusion?

Please hear me!

Please see me!

I don’t want to do this alone!

I’m staying right here.

No more walls!

I am all about making our communities open up to see the beauty and benefits of including all people in. Is it hard, is it scary…yes it can be but can’t we even try…trying to engage with one another and really see and share all the greatness in each of us? Now, I am not blind to the legitimate fears that exist but if we don’t try to listen and share our fears with one another, we will never change.

The only way through it…is through it!!

My hopes of inclusivity are definitely real and I am grateful that I am surrounded by like-minded people. This, I believe breeds confidence and empowerment in being a component in the wheel of change. So I guess I can say I do believe in US! I do believe in the value we ALL bring to our communities. I do believe that we NEED to take the gloves off and shake some hands with a welcome that can start something GOOD, real GOOD!

Don’t forget the pain of exclusion and let us ALL focus on the joy and brilliance behind INCLUSION – the sheer power of this act can change the world and that I say is my HOPE!!!



  1. Karen Mancuso-Cermola

    April 19, 2017 - 6:42 am

    Wow! Amazing! This was written so beautifully, mindfully, purposefully and with passion and conviction. You, my friend, are: AMAZING! Authentic, Marvelous, Astonishing, Zestful, Inspiring, Numinous, Giving!!!!!!!!! We are blessed to be your friend. Keep up the great writing. Very inspiring 🙂

  2. Rebecca Spencer

    April 19, 2017 - 3:55 pm

    Beautiful and inspiring!

  3. Tabatha sitz

    May 25, 2017 - 5:00 pm

    LOVE this! Inspiring, great writing!
    Thank you!

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