Diversity, equity, and inclusion are Target Community and Educational Services culture hallmarks. Since the beginning, our mission has been to improve the lives of those with disabilities, a historically under and un-served population—our goal of enhancing the lives of the individuals and families who receive our services leads to equity and inclusion…for those with disabilities.
In recent years, agencies have been compelled to evaluate critically their internal systems and cultures to ensure bias does not exist within an institution. This evaluation boiled down to asking the question behind the statement, “This is how we’ve always done it.” Are outdated thoughts codified within those actions that perpetuate from habit instead of intentionality?
For Target, we serve a diverse population, and as such, we are a diverse agency. Our colleagues closely represent the demographics of our communities. That may not be enough. In the second year of my time at Target, I would like to turn an eye to our agency culture as it relates to the diversity, equity, and inclusion of those we serve and those we work alongside. I need more than my perspective to shape policy, practice, and culture. Instead, we must find ways to unite and honor a shared perspective.
Over the next few months, a couple of efforts will roll out to better understand that shared perspective, what we are doing well, and what areas we should improve regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. These conversations might be complicated. Feedback might be hard to give, and it might be harder to hear. It is too early to outline those efforts today, but writing as we move into June is important.
In June, we celebrate two communities within our culture. The month of June is dedicated to the awareness of the LGBTQIA+ community. The current political and social landscape for members of this community is full of unrest, and we must acknowledge the concerns of our colleagues, participants, and friends around these issues. For more information on how best to support the LGBTQIA+ communities, I turned to this resource:
In June, we also celebrate Juneteenth. Target offices are closed on June 19th to recognize this milestone in American history. I must admit that I was largely ignorant of this day’s history and needed to learn more. I turned to National Geographic for readings and a video:
Target celebrates the lives of all those we serve and work alongside. As individuals and an agency, we must be committed to the regular and systematic evaluation and evolution of our internal biases, institutional structures, and personal interactions. I look forward to learning more in the coming months and look to you to teach me what I do not know. Paraphrasing Maya Angelou, we will do our best until we know better. Then when we know better, we will do better.