At Back on My Feet, diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values, essential elements of how we engage with each other as employees and the members we serve.
We have always been committed to building communities that dismantle stereotypes and prejudices and working toward a more equitable, inclusive, and just world. We believe that the power of community is key to our members achieving self-sufficiency, and that this power comes from having a diversity of views and perspectives represented in our leadership, employees, volunteers, and other supporters. As we outrun homelessness, as we break barriers and reduce stigma, we do it with a sincere awareness that we must always strive to do more and do so together.
We have created plans, set goals, and are continually working to infuse the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into our organizational culture and practices:
- Increasing Diversity. We believe that the more diverse we are, the stronger we are, and want to be as broadly represented as possible, whether by race and ethnicity, sexuality, or gender identity. Women currently represent 81% of Employees and 75% of the Senior Leadership Team, and 57% of our new hires in 2020 were People of Color. We are also taking deliberate steps to diversify our national Board of Directors and Senior Leadership Team.
- Broadening Awareness. We believe that knowledge drives change. We provide educational opportunities for our staff to better recognize patterns of unconscious bias in their attitudes and behavior, and we are partnering with industry leaders to build an ongoing educational program. We have also created spaces in which our employees can share information and communicate authentically with each other.
- Fostering an Equitable and Inclusive Culture. We are a workplace that values the voice and dignity of every individual. Our internal diversity, equity, and inclusion committee – formed from a cross-section of employees – assists the organization in ensuring that our policies, procedures, and practices are consistent with our values.
We understand that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion may mean different things to different people. At Back on My Feet:
- Diversity describes the psychological, physical, and social differences that occur among any and all individuals, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, and learning styles.
- Equity represents the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations, and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.
- Inclusion is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate and bring their full, authentic selves to work. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in the words/actions/ thoughts of all people.
Source: “Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture.” Equity in the Center, 2019.