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Writer Hadiya Roderick Musters Courage

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Hadiya Roderique knows firsthand the barriers and challenges to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but that doesn’t stop her from forging her own career path.

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Roderick left her vantage point as a young black woman lawyer for a Bay Street firm to pursue her true calling: writing.

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An essay published in the Globe and Mail, titled “Black on Bay Street,” garnered much-needed attention and opened the door to new career paths as a journalist, consultant, commentator, and university professor.

On Saturday, Roderick spoke with a group of mentors and mentees at the Amherstberg Freedom Museum. This is his first guest speaker since the COVID-19 pandemic suspended a Freedom Achievers series called “Making Freedom in the 21st Century” co-hosted by the Amherstberg community. Foundation.

Roderick spoke of her own experiences with prejudice and discrimination during the three years she attended post-secondary school and worked in a predominantly white male workplace.

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At one point, she was the only black female attorney at the firm.

Diversity and inclusion advocate, journalist and attorney Hadiya Roderick (second from left), Chris Porter (left), Brenda McCurdy (second from right), during Freedom Achievers, Saturday, October 1, 2022. A series co-sponsored by the Amherstburg Community Foundation with the participation of Monty Logan, Chairman of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.
Diversity and inclusion advocate, journalist and attorney Hadiya Roderick (second from left), Chris Porter (left), Brenda McCurdy (second from right), during Freedom Achievers, Saturday, October 1, 2022. A series co-sponsored by the Amherstburg Community Foundation with the participation of Monty Logan, Chairman of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. Photo by JULIE KOTSIS /windsor star

Roderick says he’s learned over the years to “fit in with the place and space.”

“I’ve made myself smaller by trying to get people to get along rather than making space for me, and expanded what my definition of belonging is or should be,” she said.

“People are attracted to those who are similar to themselves. Consciously or subconsciously, we surround ourselves with people who are like us, justifying our choices and values.

“You can only make yourself small for a long time.”

Roderick, a law graduate from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. from the University’s Rotman School of Management, has decided to leave the company.

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“I didn’t want to make myself any smaller. I wanted to be me. I wanted to be myself.”

That led her to write an essay.

“When I sat down… to write the story, it flowed through my fingertips,” Roderick said. “It really was the story of everything that got me there and the story of everything that made me leave.”

She said she was afraid to write the story, thinking no one would want to hire her again.

“It’s very frightening to be so vulnerable to admit that not everything is okay,” she said. It made me feel watched.

Roderick encouraged the mentees in the room to share their stories, research procedures and policies, ask questions, and be brave.

“Courage is not being fearless. Courage is doing something despite your fears,” she said. You can lead a more successful life in your field.

“I also want people to start questioning everything. Keep trying, keep asking.

“Why aren’t you diverse? Tell me why you think it’s okay not to have diversity. Tell me why you think it’s better not to have diversity.”

jkotsis@postmedia.com

twitter.com/KotsisStar

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Writer Hadiya Roderick Musters Courage

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