Mission Statement: Respect Differences is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization encouraging all individuals to be respectful of one another, regardless of whether one agrees with or accepts those individuals because of their differences in appearance, opinions and/or beliefs. This diversity resource provides advocacy campaigns, on-campus programs, and middle/high school presentations to educate individuals about the difference between acceptance and respect. 

Vision Statement: Respect Differences is committed to making the world a safer and more understanding place for all people to live. 

About Our Founder: Chelsea Barker

Chelsea graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in 2011 with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology, and graduated from the University of Maine in 2014 with her Master's degree in Counselor Education. While at UMBC, she played division 1 basketball for four years and learned that team work, dedication, hard work, and respect are extremely important.

While at the University of Maine, Chelsea had the opportunity to be the Coordinator for LGBT Services from 2012-2014. As a member of the LGBT community herself, Chelsea realized that not just LGBT individuals, but other minorities were pushing so hard for acceptance from others that it actually pushed them away. Chelsea would overhear things like: “if you can not accept me, you are a bad person” or “you are stupid for disagreeing with me.” Comments such as these are judgmental and can cause serious harm. Chelsea realized that she was in a position to help make the world a safer and more understanding place for all people to live. After some time and thought, Chelsea founded the non profit organization Respect Differences in January of 2013.

Chelsea recently relocated to Baltimore, Maryland to become a coach for the UMBC Women's Basketball program. She is looking for schools around the area to share her message and help make your school a safer place.

In her Seminars, Chelsea uses the “Mosaic” as a metaphor instead of the “Melting Pot” to emphasize that we do not have to melt together into one common culture, but different elements can come together and still make something beautiful.

In her presentations she educates individuals about the differences between tolerance, acceptance, and respect, and she lets the audience know that it is okay if they have such a strong difference in opinion and/or belief that they can not accept and/or agree with other people because of their differences. Chelsea does not speak to try and change anyone's long held views or beliefs. Chelsea stresses that people should just throw the politics and debates out the door and agree to disagree, respectfully. Without respect, Chelsea believes that the world would be filled with fights and riots, which could result in violence and death. We hear all the time that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and personal beliefs, but Chelsea goes beyond that and emphasizes that those personal beliefs do not entitle you to control or change other people’s lives. Chelsea has a way of making individuals feel that we all deserve more than to be tolerated, that we should hope for acceptance, but all we really want is to be treated with respect.