Vicki Ariyasu: Diversity, Belonging, and Racial Justice
June 18, 2020
In this series of blog posts, we asked our experts to share their perspectives on issues of race and racism and highlight the work they are doing in their respective fields. “What is your vision for the future of childhood? What are you doing in your professional capacity to achieve that vision, and/or who needs to do what to achieve that vision?”
Children’s content as a window and mirror
Vicki Ariyasu is Senior Vice President, Disney Channels Worldwide Educational Resource Group and Diversity & Inclusion at The Walt Disney Company, where she oversees Disney Channels Worldwide diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as curriculum that guides school studies, assessing comprehension, developmental appropriateness, and appeal for content.
Paraphrasing from Rudine Sims Bishop: children’s content at best is both a window and mirror. I think our kids need to see through this window to a world of shared experiences and one in which they see their own faces reflected, across all dimensions of identity—race/ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and more. It starts with talent–executives, diversity amongst our ranks, and our creative talent who can speak authentically, from their shared experiences. Business priorities often don’t advance diversity. I believe one doesn’t have to be sacrificed for the sake of the other.
This isn’t a moment—this is a movement, and we are seeing more people stepping up every day. We’ve already been on this journey; it’s just gotten a whole lot more attention lately. This is good because we can and we need to do better. I’ll continue to fight the good fight because what is at stake is the millions of kids’ lives we reach, and the future that lies ahead as we look to change the world and make it a better place, just as we hope these kids will do so someday, too.
To achieve this vision, we rely significantly on internal resources such as Disney Channels Diversity and Inclusion Leadership and Integration teams, and Business Employee Resource Groups. We also partner with external organizations such as Common Sense Media, See Jane, GLAAD, UCLA Center for Scholars and Storytellers, IW Group, RespectAbility, Child Mind Institute, Catalyst, and our consortium of academic and content area experts and consultants.
See more posts in this series: