Sharing All Stories - A Reflection on DE&I by Jason Segrest
When I think of the DE&I initiative – I begin to reflect on those I serve within and beyond our organization. I think about the people who did not have the same opportunities as those who grew up privileged or had a structured support system to help them navigate the complexities of our society. I think of the underrepresented high school junior and seniors I teach and experiences they may face as young adults, after graduation – especially as young men and women of color. Many of these experiences give me pause and make me reflect on my own experiences growing up in the inner city of Detroit.
When I joined the DE&I task force, I began to think of how I can contribute to this initiative; what is my purpose, and how can I make an impact? After taking time to think it through – the simplest message became clear – listen and learn. Robert Baden said it best, "If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talking." I am sharing this quote because ...
I believe the DE&I efforts should start with listening and learning how to see, hear, actively listen, and do for each other.
I believe it will take a village to create an environment of belongingness to help people feel included and welcomed everywhere and at Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana.
I am grateful and proud to be a part of this initiative to drive the change we wish to see, not only for our organization – but for the communities we serve.