The sweeping effects of health inequities, hunger, homelessness, and unthinkable acts of violence converged to lay bare a framework of systems that has perpetuated racism and inequality across the country and in our own community.
We acknowledge the limitations of the health and human services sector to adequately address the deeply entrenched roots of inequality. Institutions that perpetuate oppression and inequality have led our nation to vast disparities in health, housing, justice, finance and other systems that deny people of color the opportunities, privileges and protections that are afforded others in our society.
We at the Human Services Coalition plan to closely examine our own role in these issues. We stand ready to listen, to learn, and to effect positive change within our organization. We also will join with other nonprofits both to explore racism as a problem of institutional power and to make every attempt to dismantle racism in our own sector. We stand with all Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other people of color who continue to suffer oppression and injustice and invite everyone to stand with us.
Goal for Anti-racism Work:
HSC will become a place where BIPOC feel comfortable and welcome as our clients. HSC will also commit to creating an environment that supports retention of BIPOC staff. HSC will become a partner of BIPOC led and/or focused organizations, and a respected and trusted organization to the BIPOC community in Tompkins County.
Summary of Work To Date of the ARWG
- We created a DEI statement as both an expression of our stance with regard to racial inequities, and as a guide for the work we must undertake in order to be a welcome resource and strong ally to BIPOC.
- We have formed an Anti-Racism Working Group which meets regularly and includes staff from multiple programs.
- We decided that spending time on enrolling the entire staff in this work was an important foundational piece, and to that end, we created a survey to get a sense of where we all stand related to these issues and get a sense for our next steps with this work.
- We had Delphia Howze here to lead two hour-long sessions with our staff on unconscious bias and bridging the gaps of race.
- Our staff has broken out into program groups to discuss retention, and how to make our organization a welcoming place for BIPOC staff and clients.
- We have undertaken an editing of our orientation manual to be sure that it is written with Racial, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (REDI) language.
Previous and Ongoing Work
- Diversity and Inclusion at Work (4/13/2021) – Human Services Coalition Workshop Series
- Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Talent (4/20/2021) – Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-TC)
- Writing an Inclusive Job Advertisement (4/16/2021) – Diversity Consortium
- Structural Racism and Maternal Health (4/29/2021)- 2021 Public Health Partnership Conference
- Ithacans Navigating the Wave of COVID 19 anti-Asian Violence (4/27/2021)- Community Faith Partners
- Bystander Intervention to stop anti-Asian/American and xenophobic harassment (5/24/2021)- Asian Americans Advancing Justice/Hollaback!
- COVID-19 Vaccine “Office Hour” for BIPOC (2/10/2021)- Tompkins County Health Department
- HSC Workshop Series: In support of our commitment to explore racism as a problem of institutional power and to make every attempt to dismantle racism in our own sector, HSC is offering more workshops to mitigate and eliminate racism and increase equity and inclusivity in not for profit organizations. In 2021, almost half of workshop offerings supported equity, inclusion and belonging, and anti-racism.
Memberships, Committees and Anti-racism Focused Work:
- Tompkins County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) Steering Committee (ongoing) – a major focus of this group, in addition to ensuring that progress is made toward CHIP goals, will be monitoring and recommending strategies to enhance health equity in Tompkins County.
- Invited to present to Tompkins County Transportation Equity Task Force/DEI and Anti-Racism Planning Group (Feb 2021) – invited to present on HSC’s initial DEI work and discuss the work of this new group moving forward.
- Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) Affinity Group on Developing Meaningful Measures by Centering Community Voice (beginning April 2021) – this national workgroup will be exploring and disseminating best practices around including community members’ perspectives (especially those with lived experience) in the measurement and evaluation of programs, grant applications, and initiatives.
- Diversity Consortium: The Diversity Consortium of Tompkins County (DCTC) is a joint effort of local leaders and employers dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in Tompkins County. The mission of DCTC is to promote the benefits of diversity and inclusion educating, enhancing awareness of, providing a support network for and sharing best practices for all members of the consortium.
- Regional Racial Justice Committee: This is a statewide group of Continuum of Care (CoC) members who strive to examine how racism has affected the homeless response system as well as identify ways to create a more equitable homeless response system. Within this committee, Liddy is on the training workgroup where we are currently analyzing data and creating a series of trainings to be used Statewide for CoCs.
- Racial Equity Committee of the CoC: This is a small group of local providers working to examine the overrepresentation of people of color in Ithaca’s homeless response system. We are currently specifically examining our coordinated entry system to look for barriers in accessing permanent housing locally.
- Ithaca Displacement/Eviction Defense Project– has a strong racial justice, anti-racism component, focusing on supporting individuals in the City of Ithaca who are at risk eviction or displacement outside the City.
- Mayors for Guaranteed income project
- Southern Tier Vaccine Health Equity Taskforce- Advise the Southern Tier VxN HUB Lead in the development of a phased Regional Vaccination Plan ensuring community needs are met
- Health Planning Council (HPC) is examining the issues of structural racism and health inequities in our local community. As a commitment to addressing structural and systemic racism in health, the HPC will use an anti-racism lens when examining health issues.
- HSC receives several requests for consultant recommendations. Over the last several months, we have added several people of color to our assemblage of consultants. Our process is to recommend three (3) consultants with every request. Each recommendation now includes at least one person of color.
- The Executive Exchange (EXEX), a consortium of executive directors representing more than 100 Tompkins County-based not for profit agencies, has published a comprehensive, shared statement entitled, “Executive Exchange Commitment to Equity and Anti-Racism.”
Although the document outlines many specific actions ExEx plans to take, the initial steps are:
- Share and discuss the statement with their spheres of influence
- Devote their 2020-2021 EXEX programing to educating themselves and their communities about systemic racism
- Join or maintain membership in the Diversity Consortium of Tompkins County
- Monthly check-ins at their ExEx meetings, to hold themselves accountable to their actions