Our Commitment

In our commitment to supporting individuals with mental health challenges in achieving their highest level of functioning and fulfillment, CooperRiis recognizes the need to engage in the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in our community and to be in connection with the issues affecting the collective mental well-being of our community at large.  Over the next few months, our DEI Work Group will be laying the foundation for the vision and strategy of how this will unfold at CooperRiis.

Our goal is to be a welcoming and safe place for any person to come and heal. 

What does this mean at CooperRiis? This means:

  • We need staff who have lived experience with many forms of “othering” and oppression. We cannot safely serve residents without people at our table who can work with our residents and share from a place of experience.

  • We need to look at the ways that our day-to-day programs operate, how we communicate, decision-making processes, goals, values, and culture that are inherently excluding people from authentic inclusion within the community.

Our plan:

  • Gather information from our staff and residents, with the guidance of our DEI consultants.
  • Finalize a Vision statement and Strategy which will incorporate:
    • Examining all the facets of CooperRiis through a DEI lens.
    • Ensuring sustainability of this effort.
    • Detail how we will hold ourselves accountable – communication, outside consultation, ongoing commitment, ongoing feedback, and progress monitoring.
  • Meet goals laid out in the CooperRiis strategic plan around DEI.

What is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

  • Diversity: Encompasses all the ways that human beings are both similar and different. The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.
    It means understanding that everyone is unique, particularly regarding race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical and mental abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or ideologies.
  • Equity: Allocating resources to ensure everyone has access to the same treatment & opportunities. Equity recognizes that advantages and barriers— the ‘isms’—exist. Equity is the approach & equality is the outcome.
  • Inclusion: Fostering a sense of belonging by centering, valuing, & amplifying the voices, perspectives & styles of those who experience more barriers based on their identities. Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/ policymaking in a way that shares power.
  • Justice: Extends the concept of equity to include human rights as part of the social contract. It is about dismantling barriers to resources and opportunities in society so that all individuals & communities can live a full & dignified life. These barriers are essentially the “isms” in society: racism, classism, sexism, ageism, etc.

Definitions from Social Justice Glossary of Terms shared by Danae Aicher, Managing Diversity: A Complete Desk Ref. and Planning Guide and The Avarna Group.