If you put 37 people—mostly strangers to one another—in a room and asked them to talk openly about their social identities, what do you think the outcome would be?

On Wednesday, February 28th, this rhetorical question became real. When the Belonging in Kendall foundational course convened, its 37 participants discussed where they belonged in Kendall Square, in their communities, and in the world around them. These participants represented nearly every corner of Kendall Square, including Amgen, CIC, the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Graffito SP, J&J Innovation, Microsoft, MIT, MITIMCo, the MIT Museum, the Ragon Institute, Turner Construction, and the Whitehead Institute. 

Guided by YW Boston, the class shared their stories. Stories of the times and places where they felt their identities were celebrated—and stories of the times when a sense of belonging was lacking. Bridging their differences with empathetic listening and understanding, the class asked tough questions that they sought to answer, together.

Belonging in Kendall course participants from the MIT Museum share cups of coffee and conversation at the Foundry

Building on the energy from the first session, the group convened four more times to explore the intersection of identities, understanding implicit bias, responding to microaggressions, and leading for equity. 

But back to the original question: What is the outcome of people coming together in this way? What is gained when we talk about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB)? The KSA convened the cohort one more time to find out.

The Belonging in Kendall course culminated with a breakfast reception, including mini quiches from Little Luna

At this final breakfast, course participants were asked to reflect on their experiences in the course. Here is what they said: 

I loved the course. All of the topics we covered for 5 weeks gave me the opportunity to learn more about DEIB and now I certainly incorporate those concepts in my day-to-day life & at work.” – Supal Vyas, Amgen

Belonging: Being empowered and having a voice.” – Anonymous

The workshop has encouraged me to use the power I have to make my workplace more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Instead of focusing on what I can’t control, the series has helped shift my focus to what I can control. I have more motivation to use my power to make changes and that no change is too small.” – Anonymous

Stay up to date with all of KSA’s Belonging in Kendall programming here
Thank you to the Equity Sponsors from Amgen and Microsoft of the Belonging in Kendall foundational course. Thanks also to sponsors Cambridge Redevelopment Authority and the MIT Museum.