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From the President: Celebrating Differences and Diverse Perspectives Helps Us All to Shine


As we continue our ongoing series about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion, I thought it was important to feature Adriane Miller, who is executive director for the National Conference for Community & Justice of Greater Dayton, an organization that is dedicated to this very cause. Adriane is a social worker and community leader with more than 15 years of strategic leadership and commitment to DEI. Through her experience, she has learned the importance of using her voice and privilege to speak up, educate others and be an active ally. A dynamic and skilled facilitator, Adriane helps others view experiences in their lives through an inclusive lens.

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Michael M. Parks


Tell us about NCCJ’s mission and how you are working to create a better community for all.

NCCJ’s mission is to build a community dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry and all forms of discrimination. Our mission is central to everything we do, but we cannot do this alone. The critical piece of our mission is the building of a community. NCCJ programs are designed to educate individuals and for them to bring these skills and knowledge back to their communities. Mobilizing communities is ingrained into the curriculum development of each of our programs.

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Adriane Miller

What do you see as the community’s greatest challenges regarding equity and inclusion?

The greatest challenge to equity and inclusion is the way in which it has become politicized. Equity and inclusion are human issues. We all want and deserve to be in places where we feel welcomed. Places where we can be ourselves without ridicule or judgment. Throughout history, people have been pushed to fit into boxes that define us as only one thing. What we are realizing is that none of us are made up of just one thing, and there is a spectrum of intersectionalities.

What does a diverse, inclusive and equitable community look like?

Alexis Webster, program manager for NCCJ, aptly summed this up as “a community where differences are celebrated, embraced and highlighted in every aspect of living. It offers a space for people to embrace opportunities of growth knowing others will pour into them.”

Equity and inclusion are human issues. We all want and deserve to be in places where we feel welcomed.
– Adriane Miller, executive director for National Conference for Community & Justice of Greater Dayton

Her response reminded me of our Anytown Youth Leadership Institute. During this one-week program, we intentionally work to bring together diverse local youth. We get to know each other through activities that provide opportunities for participants to show their true selves. We welcome everyone and work to create a space where their voices can be heard. We see kids, who start the program with their heads down, quiet and unable to look people in the eyes, evolve into smiling, engaged and energetic people. As the week progresses, we hear comments such as, “Can we stay here forever?” The transformation that takes place is powerful and has a lifelong impact on them. We work hard to create this welcoming environment and take time through small groups to get to know each person.

Anytown is a welcoming community for everyone that is a part of the program. We celebrate our differences, welcome diverse perspectives and create opportunities for each person to shine. A diverse, inclusive and equitable community is a community where you are able to thrive as your genuine self.

What resources are available for local organizations and individuals who want to get involved and educate themselves about DEI?

At NCCJ, we have many exciting opportunities for people to volunteer. We hold our Pride Rocks! celebration yearly in May. This event was designed to help decrease suicide rates among the LGBTQ+ community. The event is at the beautiful Levitt Pavilion and features musicians, community resources, art vendors and food trucks. We have a planning committee and are always looking for volunteers.

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National Conference for Community & Justice of Greater Dayton


NCCJ offers a variety of programming for adults. We work with local organizations to help them become more inclusive by providing interactive workshops. Our Diversity 101 four-part series includes implicit bias, inclusive leadership, understanding privilege and social change. We work hard to create safe spaces for difficult conversations and customize workshops to meet the unique needs of an organization. We also work regularly with organizations to help them move further with their goals of becoming more inclusive.

A diverse, inclusive and equitable community is a community where you are able to thrive as your genuine self.
– Adriane Miller

We are lucky to be part of a community that focuses on equity for all. NCCJ works closely with local colleges and universities, including Sinclair College, Wright State University and the University of Dayton. All of these organizations have a strong focus on equity and provide quality programs that are usually open to the community.

For more information about NCCJ of Greater Dayton, please feel free to reach out to me at amiller@nccjgreaterdayton.org or (937) 222-6225 ext. 102 or visit https://nccjgreaterdayton.org/.