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.
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.
Our mission, at CooperRiis is to help people with mental health challenges achieve their highest level of fulfillment and functioning. We are aware that the historic and current inequality in the United States, expressed through racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and myriad other forms of oppression, has a negative impact on mental well-being for all.
We are also aware that the privilege of support and treatment has often been dispensed along racial and socio-economic lines. As an organization we understand that we are part of a mental health care system that has maintained such inequalities. CooperRiis is committed to continued growth that more intentionally considers multicultural perspectives that will move us toward fully realizing our mission.
The people who work for CooperRiis are passionate, out-of-the-box thinkers who value fostering and maintaining relationships. Our greatest strengths come from our respect for individual autonomy and our genuine commitment to walk alongside those who put their trust in us. We do not take this trust lightly and so, are committed to an on-going process of questioning ourselves, constantly evolving and adjusting as we continue in this work for the long term.
We will create intentional spaces for challenging conversations within our organization, seek input toward ongoing improvement, and support our active Diversity Equity and Inclusion team. We will ask for feedback from our internal and external communities and pursue relevant training and institutional supports that promote increased cultural awareness for which we strive. Just as we do not expect perfection from our residents, we recognize that we too are imperfect. We will allow ourselves the grace to learn from past missteps and commit to using those lessons to work toward more just outcomes in our future endeavors.