For this up-and-coming generation of social entrepreneurs, it’s of vital importance that, in solving-real world problems, we develop a proper understanding of ourselves and our personal identities. We must bring this understanding to the organizations and communities that we work in; there is a direct correlation between understanding oneself and being able to tackle the difficult social issues of our time with powerful, innovative solutions.This is personal work that is foundational for meaningfully understanding and engaging with social issues and in forming teams and entities that are thoughtful and effective in finding different paths to combat these issues.
Identity Carousel is facilitated by Yale Divinity School student Jamal Davis Neal, Jr., a passionate social activist who yearns to create and provide spaces focused on identity development as a means toward ethical leadership. The activity is meant to be an interactive and vulnerable space for us to begin to think about and explore our own social identities, to identify areas that we'd like to focus on for our own personal work, and to share with our community the importance of these identities.
This space provides the opportunity for us to challenge ourselves to think critically about the social identities of race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, class, citizenship status, ability and disability, and education level; it will involve leaning into discomfort. That being said, this challenge is meant to be by choice — for some, discussion of these identities may produce uncomfortable feelings brought on by past trauma. At the beginning of our time together, there will be clear expectations and community standards that are meant to address how to respond to challenging dialogue, to provide space for what resources are needed should someone feel uncomfortable, and to hold each other accountable in making this a safe, brave space.
This activity is meant to be a cross-campus and cross-cultural community-building space. The hope is for this to address a gap that may develop between the learning of professional skills in the areas of entrepreneurship and innovation and how we function as social beings within those fields.