In Spring 2020, our Big Brothers Big Sisters agency and community – along with other communities around the country and globe – were squarely faced with the effects of two pandemics: COVID-19 and entrenched, systemic racism.
In June 2020, BBBSEMO CEO & President Becky J. Hatter and its Board of Directors jointly issued “Count On Us,” a Letter to Community outlining agency values and commitments. That bold statement inspired BBBSEMO staff of color (SOC) to rally as a collective. In August, the SOC Collective presented agency leadership with “Three Best Hopes” – a collaboratively created document identifying critical points of opportunity in BBBSEMO’s anti-bias, anti-racist journey. Later the same month, “Three Best Hopes” became an official anchor document for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri.
It’s now January 2022. It’s an important date to add to those above, because today, we’re officially sharing BBBSEMO’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) statement.
The statement represents one part of some very intentional (and active, strategic, joyful!) work that’s been underway at Big Brothers Big Sisters for the last 29 months. It’s come together through listening to and honoring BBBSEMO young people, parents and caregivers, volunteers, and staff through focused, facilitated Listening Sessions. We’ve also begun Courageous Conversations (often called white caucusing) to maintain ongoing space and momentum for vital staff development. We affirm what’s ahead will not be the responsibility of our staff or community members doing this work for us. So we’re investing in external, BIPOC-led resources to help us continue our DEI growth. And, we encourage our community to hold us accountable.
So keep checking in with us! In coming months, you’ll hear different voices and perspectives on our DEI journey on our Stories page and social channels. They’ll give insights into personal experiences, deeper history, and new learnings. And on social especially, posts featuring those voices and perspectives will be openings for folks to engage with us and this work in a way that moves us all a little further and higher.
“See” you here for our next BBBSEMO DEI Journey story. Until then, share this one!