In February, we invite you to join us in celebrating Black History Month and Black Futures Month! This is an opportunity to reflect on the contributions, experiences and stories of self-identified Black clients, staff and caregivers within the developmental services sector. Although this month generates increased attention, every day is an opportunity to acknowledge our history, educate yourself on the impacts of racism, celebrate Black communities and work towards building a more positive future.
Throughout February, Surrey Place will recognize the unique challenges Black people in our community continue to face, specifically racism and discrimination. The developmental disabilities sector must be proactive in its efforts to not only acknowledge Black History Month and Black Futures Month, but also work towards removing systemic barriers and taking meaningful action towards creating equitable services and opportunities for everyone.
Our commitment to fostering an inclusive environment for self-identified Black people must be ongoing and woven into the fabric of our daily practice. Since embarking on our Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility journey two years ago, we have continued making consistent strides to better support the Black staff, clients, caregivers, and community we serve. It is imperative to drive positive change, and that starts within Surrey Place.
Our Anti-Racism: Black Cultural Awareness Consulting and Training Group has continued to be instrumental in providing direction and feedback to Surrey Place on best practices for developing anti-racism work at all levels. Their ongoing efforts have been invaluable in providing education, resources and support to ensure that everyone at Surrey Place can access and benefit from an equitable, diverse, inclusive and accessible environment. In addition, the group has been critical in helping to foster a culture of understanding, respect, and appreciation as we continue to strive towards creating an anti-racist organizational culture.
In order to ensure that Black voices are represented at Surrey Place, members of the Anti-Racism: Black Cultural Awareness and Training Group joined the EDIA working group. Over the past year, this group has worked diligently to apply for various grants, arrange conference presentations and create partnerships to support the community engagement and education objectives.
I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Anti-Racism: Black Cultural Awareness Consulting and Training Group for their significant efforts in this important work. The members are more than just Surrey Place staff – they are advocates for Black clients, caregivers, families and the community as a whole. Without their guidance, the progress we have made toward anti-racism work would not have been possible. The group members include Alicia Gonen, Angela Gonzales, Ashley Bruce-Rose, Jessica Regis, Joanne Marcano (Group Chair), Kim Daniel, Sharon Shelton, Tricia Deroche and YG.
Throughout the month, we will be sharing resources, events and engaging social media content related to Black History Month and Black Futures Month. Each of us has an important role to play in driving change. I encourage everyone to review the resources below or attend an event to learn more.
Terri Hewitt, Ph.D., C.Psych.