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'I want to inspire people to grow' | Charlotte-based author takes a unique approach to diversity education

“With George Floyd and a lot of the recent incidents and things that occurred, I wanted to provide a way for people to get better."

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte-based author who does diversity training for everyone from Fortune 500 companies, to fourth graders, has taken a unique approach to diversity education. And one that’s getting him recognized in the national spotlight.

Justin Jones-Fosu has been doing diversity work for decades, but last year he felt called to write about it.

“With George Floyd and a lot of the recent incidents and things that occurred, I wanted to provide a way for people to get better," Jones-Fosu said.

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The sought after diversity and inclusion consultant typically works
with big businesses but wanted to bring his approach to the masses.

Jones-Fosu wrote The Inclusive Mindset as a guide that he said everyone can use in their daily lives.

“It’s being curious, a sense of wonderment about other people, learning how to respectfully disagree again,"Jones-Fosu said. "I don’t have to agree with your ideology to still value your humanity and the third is a growth minded approach it looks at where we are now and how do we get better." 

“I met a lot of people they just didn’t know where to start. A lot of my friends were reaching out asking, how do we have this conversation," he added. 

He said the book is written with a very specific approach, one he believes is different from most diversity work.

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“It’s less of a shame based approach and more of where do we go from here," he said. "Sometimes the conversation focuses on where we should be and should focus on where we can be."

His dad is from Ghana and his mom is American, so Jones-Fosu said he "never really fit in with Blacks or Whites growing up" and that laid the groundwork for the work he does now.

 “So I’ve always been in this place of tension. So part of my story and what I went through as a young person has helped get me to where I am today," Jones-Fosu said. "I want to inspire people to grow so we can create more inclusive environment. I want to create an environment where people can respectfully disagree where we can see people’s humanity." 

For more information on The Inclusive Mindset or the rest of Justin’s work, check out his website. 

Contact Michelle at mboudin@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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