Never has the institutional and structural racism at the foundation of the United States’ history been more exposed than it is now. Highlighted by the concurrent pandemic and economic downturn, we have an opportunity to confront the dominant white culture that oppresses so many in our communities — people of color, those with disabilities, neighbors with limited English proficiency, Indigenous peoples, those living on the fringes of our economy and many more.
At Columbia Pacific CCO, we have cultivated inclusion in our work for years. In these unprecedented times, we have re-engaged with the work of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) to build on our past efforts and strengthen our capacity going forward.
Toward this, in 2020:
- An Equity Committee of the Board was re-formalized and began functioning in January.
- All three community advisory councils (CACs) developed equity aspiration statements to formalize the integration of equity into all aspects of their work.
- Columbia Pacific created and filled a new role — health equity program specialist — to support the development and sustainability of our JEDI work.
- Columbia Pacific adopted the Protocol for Culturally Responsive Organizations as a framework to guide, organize and assess our JEDI work. The Protocol covers the full arena of an organization’s governance and operations, so organizations can fulfill their capacity to effectively serve communities of color.
As we begin to reorganize using this tool, we will create a robust Health Equity Plan with ongoing engagement from our CACs, partners and the communities we serve. We look forward to enhancing opportunities to work across sectors — including education, early childhood, child welfare, the social safety net and criminal justice — to replace oppressive institutions and structures with those that empower and embrace all voices and experiences.