How did the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging (DEIAB) initiative come to be here at Starbridge? Who (or what group) initiated it?
Focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging has always been a priority for Starbridge. These values have been incorporated in our mission, as well as our day-to-day work, since inception. In recent years, Starbridge has developed focus areas within our DEIAB work, and we have directed our efforts to those focus areas based on Starbridge’s strategic needs and initiatives.
What do you hope to accomplish through Starbridge’s DEIAB initiative?
By committing to embracing the values of DEIAB and by demonstrating those values in our work, we strive to achieve structural change in our workplace and advance positive change in our community. By challenging ourselves to look at how we do our work and in making a commitment to collaborate with others to discuss feedback and common themes – even when uncomfortable – we strive to use these insights to improve our ability to:
- to diversify our reach to historically excluded communities and identity groups
- to attract and retain diverse staff
- to expand our thinking to make room for new voices, focus, and improvements
What are the unique challenges you have encountered when considering DEIAB for people with disabilities?
It is well documented that individuals with disabilities have a long history of being excluded. It is important to invite those with disabilities to the table, and bring education and awareness to the greater community about all that every individual has to offer. In working to transform our communities to include everyone (as our Starbridge mission states), we hope we are also making progress in shaping how the community views individuals with disabilities for the experience, wisdom, and knowledge they have to offer. Starbridge also strives to work closely with individuals with disabilities to empower people to pursue their goals, advocate for themselves, and assist them with accessing resources.
What does “belonging” mean to you?
Belonging is knowing that we are able to bring our authentic selves and all the pieces that make up who we are as individuals. Belonging is a critical component of DEIAB work. While inclusion is being invited to the table, belonging is feeling secure and accepted enough to fully participate while sitting at the table.