As we reflect on the countless stories shared during February’s celebration of Black History Month, I want to take a moment to give an update on OneStar’s efforts to consider and value every person’s experience and perspective in shaping the future our state. In the midst of racial tensions that reached a flash point last summer, OneStar was challenged to examine our role in fostering a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) society, and we are committed to remaining accountable to you–our partners, grantees, and stakeholders. We are the first to admit we are not experts, but we are learning, adapting, and working to live out our commitment to DEI not only for a month or season, but as an enduring and sustainable foundation to our work. We know we need more than words, so here is an update on some of our action:
- In June 2020, OneStar launched a DEI Resource Corner as a standing item on the bi-weekly AmeriCorps Texas Updates and OneStar VISTA Updates e-newsletters to share resources on a regular basis.
- In July 2020, we established an internal Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee to oversee and direct our internal work. The committee, comprised of members from every functional team across the organization, meets monthly and leads internal initiatives to create a more equitable workplace.
- We are reviewing and revising our internal policies, including updating our hiring procedures to ensure that they are equitable and inclusive.
- Our staff participated in a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion cohort with America’s Service Commissions this fall along with other state service commissions. Through this partnership, our staff and our AmeriCorps grantees participated in an interactive webinar series on how to build a framework for inclusive national service led by Public Allies.
- We researched best practices and conducted a preliminary assessment to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in our grantmaking.
- OneStar staff developed and launched a two-part webinar series on building inclusive service environments for AmeriCorps State and National programs in Texas and host sites of the OneStar AmeriCorps VISTA Project.
- Starting last month, OneStar began participating in Promise 54’s DEI Accelerator. This program is an 8-month intensive that will help us engage in DEI action planning through ongoing coaching support and a professional learning community.
These are the initial steps we have taken to enhance OneStar’s capacity for intentional DEI work, and we look forward to taking a deeper dive into the strategies and protocols across our organization in the coming months. We recognize that fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion is a perpetual process and plan to build on this groundwork by listening and learning from our community. As we continue on this journey, we look forward to sharing the insights and lessons learned along the way, and I ask that you share your feedback and hold us accountable as we strive toward our vision of One Texas, united in building resilient and thriving communities.
President & CEO