Sadia Khan is taking her passion for championing diversity beyond just her local community. Despite just recently joining the Rotary Club of Red Deer Urban Spirits, Khan has wasted no time getting involved by becoming the chair of the Rotary District 5360 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Her hope as chair is to create a lasting change within Rotary.

Sadia Khan
 
 
“I fully acknowledge being in this role is exciting, and will come with many challenges,” she says.
 
“Personally I’ve had to do a lot of unlearning, reflecting on my experiences as a child of immigrant parents and realizing that many were not normal, but a product of a system where a lot of us are situated as a minority. It’s for these reasons I am always enticed to discuss inclusion, diversity and equity - topics that I am still trying to truly understand within my own journey.
 
Khan, who is a past chair of the Red Deer Welcoming & Inclusive Communities (WIC) Network, says it inspires her to be part of the solution of creating change.
 
“Change happens when those in power lay it down for the benefit of others,” she explains. “Change happens when instead of talking for people, we step back and give them a voice. It's hard, its sacrificial and it's humbling. As Rotarians we value diversity and celebrate the contributions of people of all backgrounds, regardless of their age, ethnicity, race, colour, abilities, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
 
Khan feels it is vital for Rotarians to engage in extremely tough discussions regarding diversity, and to challenge perceptions and ways of thinking in order to create change – something she says begins when one feels uncomfortable in what they believe.
 
“As a chair, I believe we must be bold and brave and defend our decisions that might not be popular to some, but right for those who are the farthest from justice. If we stay neutral in situations of injustice, then we have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
 
Khan says the Rotary District 5360 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee looks forward to creating relationships with Rotary clubs within the district, as well as connecting with other Rotarians to create a cycle of learning and awareness in generating dialogue.
 
“I am optimistic about the future of Rotary and the work this committee will bring to create positive change within Rotarians. That will cultivate a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture in which people from underrepresented groups have greater opportunities to participate as members and leaders.
 
“As the policy states, ‘We live in a community that exemplifies the people described in Rotary International’s policy statement and so we are marching in support of diversity, equity and inclusion.’”