The Diversity Panel

Flash back to September of 1994. Mr. Pulke knocked on our classroom door, “Can I have a word with Zina?” He asked my teacher, as he briefly interrupted the class.

Sure I had done something wrong, I squirmed in my chair. When a vice-principal came to visit, it usually wasn’t for a good cause. Of course my teacher agreed. Reluctantly, I got out of my desk-chair and approached him at the door. Slowly, I stepped into the hallway to meet him outside. What have I done now?

He leaned forward to reach me at eye level, in his nice distinguished suit. Oh no, I’m in trouble, here it comes. To my surprise, he asked if I would serve on the Multicultural/Multiracial council at school that year, in a kind and gentle tone. It was a diversity panel being implemented for the first time. I wasn’t expecting that. Why would he choose me? I didn’t feel worthy.

“Uhh, yeah, of course Mr. Pulke, thank you!” Excited, I replied.

Following several after-school meetings, a large assembly would be held in our gym with the principals, teachers, students, and the board. The whole school would be there. Unfortunately, I never fulfilled my duty on the council that year; nor did I make it to the assembly.

My accident happened in October of 1994, around a month after we began. I failed them. I’ve held onto guilt for a lot of years. I let down my parents, siblings, the council, and friends. How could I get hurt?

The years have gone by. I’ve learned to make peace. I can’t explain how. It took God’s grace to release me.

Grace tells me everything will be alright. I’m forgiven. I’m free.

Accidents happen. We can’t reverse them. If I could I would. “There are some things that just happen, beyond reasoning, beyond intellect, beyond resolution. Things like calamities, destructions, hurricanes, and disasters. The Bible says rain will fall on the just and unjust. Some stuff just happens to you. Stop trying to rationalize everything.” – Bishop T.D. Jakes, from “Beyond the Blame”

It’s obvious I don’t accept walking with difficulty, it’s something I have to work at constantly. The Bible says “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for, and evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) If I work hard enough, maybe one day I’ll have my dream.

Have you ever been touched by grace? Has it released you from any pain? Feel free to share with me in the notes.

I wasn’t able to fulfill my duty on the diversity council at school that year. But at thirty-four, God has given me a diversity panel of students of my own.

It’s interesting how that worked out.


Author: Zina Hermez

I'm a teacher, writer, and speaker. I got into publishing when I joined a Christian writers' group online where I met a few select authors who mentored me. My life changed. Through classes, webinars, and friendly emails, I've been encouraged to write. I started my blog to cope with my spinal injury in hopes of helping people.

2 thoughts on “The Diversity Panel”

  1. Very touching Zina. My heart goes out to you. What a challenge you had to accept what happened to you. God sees your loss and feels it with you.
    Yes, I’ve had to have grace to accept a situation I didn’t want at all because of a loved one’s choices. God did give me grace through it and now to accept it for what it is. The suffering of the loss has carved a deeper level of compassion in my soul and for that I am grateful.
    By the way, as your writing coach, you did a good job with a good a good beginning, using dialogue and showing versus telling. I’m proud of you.
    Your authenticity in sharing your struggles as well as your faith inspires and encourages many others.


    1. Sharon, you put it so nicely. “The suffering of the loss has carved a deeper level of compassion in my soul.” I know what you mean. I also feel the loss has given me a deeper sense of appreciation for life, and everyone and everything around me. I count my blessings! Thank you for your kind remarks.

      I’m glad you liked my beginning. That means a lot, especially coming from you 🙂


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