February 24, 2021
As Black History Month is drawing to a close I want to give honor to it, but also look at it through the lens of where Four Oaks is taking our DEI initiative in the future.
For those of you who have never met me, I identify as Black. I am proud to be a part of the Black community and honor the accomplishments and successes of all Black individuals; past, present and future. A question that comes to mind when I think about Black History Month is why there is only one month out of the year designated to honor these accomplishments or learn about my (everyone’s) history. Shouldn’t there be honor daily in being who I am; including acknowledging I am a woman, a Christian, a social worker, an advocate, a daughter and many other identities. For those of us belonging to non-dominant groups such as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), LGBTQ+, women, veterans, people with disabilities, etc., awareness months and days such as Black History Month serve as a way for our voices to be heard, our history to be acknowledged and for us to be seen and valued for who we are. Four Oaks’ DEI initiative wants to take this a step further by intentionally creating spaces daily where our staff, the children and families we serve and our community partners feel they can be their authentic selves.
Four Oaks is committed to assessing our current diversity policies and practices to have a better understanding of what we are doing well and to guide our future decisions of continuous improvement on our DEI journey. We will choose to enter into courageous and brave conversations about our differences, even when it feels uncomfortable to do so. Lastly, we will be intentional in our actions to cultivate an environment that all feel a sense of belonging.
- Ashley Hopkins, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director