Morning Matcha: Hanif Fazal

It’s easy to get frustrated with the status quo, especially at the organizational level where inequity and discrimination seem deeply entrenched. Hanif Fazal experienced this frustration firsthand starting at his Portland grade school. Growing up Mexican-Indian he soon realized that there were zero teachers and counselors of color, and that his assigned reading material wasn’t geared towards him or his race. “When I opened a textbook, I read history that was not mine,” he remembers.

Just a few years later, at the age of 16, Hanif found himself living in a low-income housing project. It was an environment overflowing with despair and dysfunction and just like the prostitutes and drug dealers on either side of him, he was merely trying to survive the day.

It was these experiences that would lead him to turn his own suffering into a powerful force for change. After pulling himself out of the situation, Hanif dedicated the following two decades of his life to helping others in low-income communities learn to thrive, and since has turned his attention to workplaces in an effort to create a top-down impact.

Today, Hanif is the founder of the Center for Equity and Inclusion, an organization that helps create spaces where people have the opportunity to contribute. The CEI works with businesses and groups to help them build genuine awareness around equity, diversion, and inclusion.

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