Natalie S. Burke touches on privilege, diversity at equity lecture

Press Room

This year’s speaker was president and CEO of CommonHealth ACTION Natalie S. Burke. She spent her time on stage stressing the importance of minority equity and how to use privilege as a way to help the oppressed. “Here’s how I think of it: Inclusion is the muscle of diversity, equity is its conscience and its soul,” Burke said. The heaviest part of her lecture was the idea that not just oppression, but privilege as well, are detrimental to the existence of equality. She believes that this is because privilege does not prepare the privileged for equality, just like oppression does not prepare the oppressed. “Privilege is like going up an up escalator: You stand on the step, you don’t have to make an effort, and you'll still end up at the top,” Burke said. “Oppression is like trying to go up a down escalator.” She stressed the idea that the privileged do not realize their privilege, and so when it is taken from them in order to create equality, they feel oppressed.

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