This week I am turning the figurative mic over to Gaby Jimenez, a long-time staff member and valued colleague, to share some news. Thank you, Wendy
In 2018, The Corps Network, an association for Corps from all over the country, introduced me to their “Moving Forward Initiative.” This initiative seeks to address systemic racism and biases that young people of color are experiencing, specifically focused on the environmental field.
The work we have done together has since taken on a more significant role in framing what it looks like for Corpsmembers to experience “liberation to leadership.” What I thought would be a one-time conversation/workshop has turned out to be some of the most challenging, insightful, and hopeful years for me at the LA Conservation Corps. Through impactful training, intentional conversations, and resiliency, the LA Corps has continued to impress me with its commitment to elevating the Corpsmember voice.
2020 was a devastating year for many of us, and in the summer, we witnessed the events that led to George Floyd’s death and were reminded of our fragility within systems that are not necessarily set up to serve us all equally. These types of situations make it clear to us that we must weave equity into our program and provide Corpsmembers with spaces to gain understanding, conduct thoughtful dialogue, and leave with tools that will instill a sense of greater confidence to approach challenges in their future careers.
Although we had been working on solidifying what diversity, equity, and inclusion should look like at the Corps prior to summer 2020, we quickly shifted focus to the importance of creating an Equity Team that would redesign the application of theories and concepts about equity into action items that we could implement into our current frameworks. The Equity Team, made up of myself and colleagues from every department and every level of the organization, acknowledged that this journey we are all on should be guided by an Equity Statement that will continue to serve as a reminder of the importance of the work we all do.
The LA Conservation Corps’ commitment to equity extends beyond the organization to our communities and environment. At the Corps, we pledge to ensure our Corpsmembers have access to a diverse collection of resources to support their needs in their personal lives and future careers, so they not only survive but thrive. We strive to seek ways to be creative and innovative to improve how we serve the environment and collaborate with the community. We promise to look for new and inspired ways to develop, build and empower our staff and Corpsmembers to be change agents for diversity, equity and inclusion. We hope you will join us on this journey.
This is another step in an ongoing process of continuous learning and growth for each of us as individuals and for the organization as a whole. Next, we turn our attention to drafting a collective set of values around diversity, equity, and inclusion that we will share with you.
Program Manager, Case & Transition Services