Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Creating an Inclusive Culture for Our Clients and Employees
Every day, we work to meet the immediate and long-term needs of our clients and continuously advocate for policy changes that foster racial and gender equity at the systemic level.
At SOME, we also recognize that enacting meaningful change starts from within. That is why we actively integrate our DEI goals into all five of our service lines and have implemented equitable practices and policies across our organization.
Our DEI Commitment at a Glance
We have operationalized our DEI commitment, especially when prioritizing diverse representation on our Board of Directors and leadership team. Our equity initiatives are also led by our Chief Inclusion Officer and IDEA Committee (Inclusion Diversity Equity Alliance) and have the full support of senior leadership.
Our Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors is currently 42% Black/African American, 8% Hispanic/Latino and 50% White, with an active effort underway to diversify further.
Our Leadership Team
Our leadership team is 60% Black/African American and 40% White.
Our staff is 68% Black/African American, 23% White, 5% other and 4% Hispanic/Latino.
Chief Inclusion Officer
In 2021, we successfully hired and onboarded a Chief Inclusion Officer, Bettina M. Straight.
Employee Affinity Groups
Our Employee Affinity Groups and IDEA Committee—made up of staff members from across the organization—champion our DEI commitment internally through training, networking and community building.
In 2021, we completed a robust survey of SOME staff members,using their feedback to develop our DEI professional development and training plans for 2021-2022.
We designed and rolled out a new DEI intranet site for employees, highlighting diversity resources, cultural observations and employee celebrations.
Employee Training Program
We are currently building a comprehensive DEI employee training program to develop a culturally competent organization grounded in equity and trust.
Gender Affirming Clothing & Hygiene Packs
We never want anyone to feel confined by assigned gender roles when they’re receiving services, care or resources from SOME. Unfortunately, some transgender, non-binary and gender nonconforming people have a hard time finding places where they can shop comfortably, so in 2021 we began making modifications to our Clothing Room to make it more inclusive. We removed gender-based signage so that customers can shop according to their identity and style. We also invite our clients to choose their own hygiene packs, rather than having volunteers choose for them based on their perceived gender.
We’re Using Inclusive Language to Foster Equity
Whenever possible, our intake documents use inclusive gender identity language, including options for Male, Female, Non-binary/third gender, Prefer not to say and Prefer to self-describe. For example, many of our programs are currently auditing their forms and adjusting the language to be more inclusive by using “the client” rather than “male resident” or “female resident”.
Additionally, we are rolling out Inclusive Language Training programs across the organization to better educate our staff. in our Single Adult Housing program, for examples, our “Safer Sex” workshop now includes information for clients in same-sex relationships, as well as resources for those that identify with the trans community.
Learn More About Our DEI Commitment on the Blog
Structural change doesn’t happen overnight, but we are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion for the long-term. We approach this work with humility and open minds, recognizing how much we still have to learn. Head over to our Blog to see our progress in action.