CARE Team Race Equity Symbol and Talking Points
As you may know, beginning in June all employees of Open Sky were invited to participate in initial listening sessions about racism. Four different sessions were held, and then all who participated came together in one larger group – now called CARE – Committee Advancing Race Equity.
Over the last five months, CARE has had focused and healthy discussions, provided input and oversight of the selection of the Race Equity Consultants, and supported the development of the assessment process.
A Symbol of Organizational Commitment and Hope for the Future
In addition, CARE developed the attached symbol and talking points as an expression of Open Sky’s organizational value around anti-racism and equity. The symbol is comprised of words shared at the initial listening sessions when people were asked what they were hoping for.
We are seeking your help in sharing this with all staff. We understand that this could promote discussion that could be uncomfortable for some. Please know that CARE team members are ready to help you and your team navigate these discussions if needed.
Part of a New Strategic Priority
Please also note that this symbol and the talking points are part of a larger plan to make Diversity, Equity and Inclusion a strategic priority for Open Sky.
Strategic Priority #6
A Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Organization
Collaborate with employees, people served and the community to create and support a welcoming and just environment
which advances diversity, equity and inclusion for all.
Why this matters: (In the words of CARE member Stephen OseiBonsu)
“The successes we make in the advancement of racial equity and inclusion will result in making us the preferred place to work, highly respected by stakeholders, attract the best talent and inspire high performance.”
For More Info, or if You Need Help
If you or your team need help, guidance or support around this document or the team discussion, please reach out to Kelley.Gamble@openskycs.org and she will connect you to one or more members of the CARE team to assist.
Starting the Journey: Becoming A Leader in Anti-Racism, Inclusion and Diversity
As we continue with efforts to make Open Sky a leader in anti-racism, inclusion and diversity, I am delighted to report that we have selected consultants that we believe are well positioned to help guide us through the process. Maria Latimore and P. Stewart Lanier, affiliate consultants with the Interaction Institute for Social Change, bring a wealth of experience to table.
Our first step will be to complete a comprehensive organizational assessment. To this end, we have convened a Racial Equity Launch Team that, along with myself, Kelley Gamble, VP of Community Engagement, and the Committee Advancing Racial Equity will work closely with the consultants throughout the assessment process. The Committee Advancing Racial Equity (CARE) was created through the merger of our original four Feedback Groups.
The assessment process is expected to take about two months and will include the involvement of many in the organization from the front-line to the board of directors. The membership of the Launch Team reflects the diversity of Open Sky and includes participants at various levels from across the agency as well as a representative from the Board.
I am pleased with the progress we have made so far, and fully understand that we are just beginning this journey and we have a lot of work ahead of us! I’ll continue to keep you updated. – Ken Bates, President and CEO
Official Statement from Kenneth J. Bates
President & Chief Executive Officer of Open Sky Community Services
June 17, 2020
As you know, I have been actively connecting with our employees since the beginning of the uprising that was sparked by the murder of George Floyd by police. Many of you have shared with me your personal reflections and the impact this has had on your family, friends and your Open Sky co-workers. I have been especially touched by the concerns shared with me about how this has impacted your children and grandchildren. It is such a tragedy. Many of you have also shared a range of ideas regarding how Open Sky can and should take action in our stand against racism. I’d like to share with you some of my preliminary thoughts on this.
At this point in time we remain in listening and learning mode: listening to the impact this has had on people, seeing what we can learn, and all while providing meaningful support to people all across our organization. The specific ideas shared by people thus far have been quite thoughtful, instructive and proactive. However, right now we are not creating an action plan or “to do list”, rather we are creating the space for people to share their reflections. Whatever action we decide to take it is very important that it be taken within a thoughtful and well managed framework.
With this in mind, a few things I believe will help us now include finding a consultant with deep knowledge, experience and expert facilitation skills who will help us create an overall framework and provide a thorough organizational assessment. I believe this assessment will be instructive and will help us determine what steps we need to take at Open Sky.
It is imperative that we be truly open and serious about creating positive change. That is why I have decided to lead this initiative for us. And, as we are at the beginning of a process, I am looking for some additional assistance from you to help think this through. I have decided to coordinate and lead a feedback group including people from all levels of the organization that will meet a few times over the next several weeks. As we move forward we will all be in this together and we will need to learn from one another and support one another.
Below is a brief update on what has happened to move this process forward since the release of Ken Bate’s message on June 17.
As promised, a number of feedback groups have been convened with participation from staff at all levels and from across the agency. The input from these groups will help inform the process of creating a framework for how we plan to move forward in this effort and conducting an organizational assessment. In addition, we anticipate that the process of selecting an appropriate consultant will soon be drawing to a close.