Our Journey Continues

Ellen Collins
Ellen Collins
Associate Director
MS Alliance

In the spring of 2020, after witnessing several polarizing racial and social injustice events, we were prompted to take a hard look at who we are as an organization and why we exist. At our inception, we adopted a set of core values that underpinned our work. Those values include accountability to the public and our members, respect for diversity and the worth and dignity of individuals, and a commitment to inclusiveness and social justice. In doing this self-examination, The Alliance made a commitment that we would hold ourselves accountable to these core values and demonstrate these values with the appropriate actions.

For the past 18 months, we have been on a very intentional journey of reflection and discovery to identify effective ways to enhance, both internally and externally, our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Working with a nationally recognized expert in DEI, we outlined a pathway to assess and gather data needed to inform our planning and future course of action. We examined our internal policies and procedures, listened, and gathered feedback from board members, member organizations, and other external stakeholders.

As a staff, we participated in our own “journey” of shared learning on DEI and racial equity issues, which was neither easy nor comfortable. From this work, we have learned that we all seek moments to connect to share our personal stories and knowledge. At the same time, there is a desire for further understanding to dismantle barriers to justice together.

We know that this deliberate approach to expanding our knowledge on diversity, equity, and inclusion, which now incorporates an understanding of accessibility and belonging, will help us become more representative of our members and the issues facing our communities. Over the coming months, we will share with you our plan of action as we identify ways to embed a DEIAB lens across our organization and initiatives. Our next step will be creating a DEIAB Team Charter, which will establish the goals and outcomes we seek to obtain through our work and formally incorporate our intentions for future work. We will also share opportunities for you to join us in a continuous exchange of ideas for learning and growth. But most importantly, we ask that you continue to hold us accountable to our promise to walk the talk, even when it gets hard or upsetting. It is there in our discomfort where we find the greatest change.

Related Articles

Sammy Moon

Note from the Executive Director

May 23, 2022

Greetings friends, We find ourselves as a country again at the place where the reactions to a tragedy – this time a mass shooting at a Buffalo, NY grocery store – fill our waking hours. We continue the routine of wringing our hands, vocalizing prayers and condolences, repeating rhetoric about the mental health status of […]

National Council for Mental Wellbeing – Mental Health Awareness Month

May 23, 2022

Each May, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing joins a national movement to bring attention to mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM).  Here is some helpful information about mental health in America: Facts & Figures 1 in 6 adolescents (aged 12-17) in the U.S. experienced a major depressive episode in 2020 1 in 3 […]

National Alliance on Mental Illness – NAMI Mississippi

May 23, 2022

Mental health, what does it mean to you? May is Mental Health Awareness Month. When we think of mental health, we automatically think of mental illness, but those are two fundamentally different things. Mental illness refers to our health condition involving changes in emotion, thinking, or behavior. The best way to know if you or […]