When we consider diversity, equity, and inclusion at the North Carolina Zoo, we begin with the conviction that all of us belong to the Earth. We share our history and our future with the land beneath our feet, the sky above our heads, and, most of all, with the entire human species. We, the people, all hope for good health, to love and be loved, and to be successful in our interactions with other people.
Despite these similarities, we are not all alike. Our physical features, personalities, genders, interests, family dynamics, and worldviews vary in diverse and remarkably human ways. Yet, despite these differences, we all hold the unique capacity to experience awe and wonder in nature and to relish the company of animals and other people. These emotions and the benevolent behaviors they encourage underlie the Zoo’s growing commitment to welcome, respect, and honor the diverse mix of humans who come to us as guests, employees, volunteers, leaders, and followers.
Our intent is to be more attentive and responsive to the needs of the varied and delightful kaleidoscope of people, cultures, and traditions we hope to serve in the future. As we accept this challenge, we pledge to listen to the needs, fears, and uncertainties expressed by our employees, guests, and volunteers and to address them within a framework that strives for equity, respect, and kindness. As part of this pledge, we also promise to help our employees learn to look for biases, conscious and unconscious, that cloud their perceptions and create barriers that harm their colleagues as well as society.
As we move forward, we hope to build a beloved community that acknowledges the humanity in all people, regardless of their backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, physical characteristics, or religious beliefs. At the heart of this pledge lies a promise to attend to the content of our character as we try to help others strengthen their own.