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Creating Meaningful Change

Tamara Uselman

– Director Of Equity And Inclusion, Fargo Public Schools

Tell us a little about your job and how it relates to New Americans?

My job is as Director of Equity & Inclusion for Fargo Public Schools. I believe diversity means “count the people.” Fargo Public Schools is rich with 88 culturally/linguistically diverse student groups, many of whom are New Americans. Inclusion means believing in our hearts and minds and souls that “the people count;” Fargo Public Schools is committed to the success of each student. Equity means “student outcomes count.” Equity involves providing students what they need to be successful in school.

What do you love most about your job?

Knowing that we are building equity mindsets and learning/discovering even deeper equitable practices that will impact students’ lives is what I love most about this work.

What is the most challenging part of your job in regard to New Americans?

Two things feel challenging:

1. It takes time to make systemwide improvements so it feels sometimes like changes cannot be made fast enough for every person’s unique needs.

2. I wish I knew the home language of each New American group.

How does diversity enhance the FM community?

Diversity brings a trove of riches to the FM community and the schools embedded in it. One big gift is that students, staff and families, both New Americans and those of us who have been here a while or were here first, are afforded the opportunity to build relationships across cultures. I think learning cultural commonalities and cultural differences of human groups makes America’s democracy shared and stronger.

How can we all help welcome people from different backgrounds?

Each of us has something to offer; each of us has something to learn. Because each person has a lived experience, we bring honor to the human story and perhaps even come to know ourselves better if we interact each day with people from cultural groups that differ from our own.

By knowing people who are from a culture other than the one we grew up in or hang out in, we can learn how to provide welcome, and from there, how to become inclusive.

Written by Nolan P. Schmidt

Nolan is the Editor of Fargo Monthly. Schmidt is also the Editor of Spotlight Media's Bison Illustrated and Future Farmer publications. He is originally from Bismarck, N.D. and is a proud graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

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