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.