As a child of immigrants in the 60s whose primary concern was to succeed in America, Kathy Chan grew up “going with the flow” and nothing, that is, not her racial or cultural identity was explicitly framed or explained to her. The words and expressions “multi-racial, “cultural competence,” “racial identity,” and “racial literacy,” were not part of her vocabulary. Kathy said, “Those words did not roll off peoples’ tongues like they do today, in some, but not all parts of our society.” In her early adult life as a software developer, she kept her head buried in a computer, but when her kids began attending an independent school that was committed to diversity, she became seriously involved and never looked back.

Though diversity is much discussed today, the advantages that come with diversity are not fully understood or accepted. Kathy then stated, “This is where the Pollyanna Conference is most effective. The conference is unique in that it creates a platform that facilitates conversations, at multiple levels, between many groups who normally have limited interaction. Hearing all the voices in the room and sharing stories, leads to listening with empathy, a hunger to be informed and a strong inclination to be active.”

Kathy went on to say, “Striving for diversity is as important today as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow.” Kathy Chan has been an activist for over 20 years, most recently through Pollyanna as a trustee and vice president. Her voice and knowledge is a huge asset.