Advocates holds the belief that diversity adds value to our organization and enriches the lives of our employees and the people we serve. We are committed to creating an agency-wide culture that embraces diversity, promotes inclusion, and fosters cultural competence. As part of this commitment, we have created two committees that focus on our goals in these areas.
The Diversity Advisory Council
Advocates’ Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) is open to and comprised of representatives from all areas of the Advocates community. Staff members lead monthly meetings with a focus on planning events, building awareness, and sharing information about diversity-related best practices and concerns.
Senior Leadership Team Diversity Subcommittee
The Diversity Subcommittee of Advocates’ Senior Leadership Team provides guidance and oversite of all initiatives related to diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence. Composed of senior-level staff, the Diversity Subcommittee meets monthly, sponsors quarterly diversity trainings for senior leaders, and promotes and upholds the following principles:
Diversity is the many different perspectives, approaches, talents and aspirations that are represented within the Advocates’ Community. Diversity includes race, gender, gender identity and expression, ethnicity, nationality, age, sexual orientation, religion, ability, lifestyle, occupation, education, partnered status, geography, family status, and many other aspects of our backgrounds and identities. Some of our differences are unique to us as individuals and others connect us to groups of people.
Inclusion means aligning our vision, values, practices and policies to achieve a culture where everyone values our differences, shares a common sense of purpose and feels empowered to perform at their highest level. It requires removing visible and invisible barriers that may limit the success of any individual.
Cultural Competence is the ability of all of Advocates’ systems, both institutional and individual, to respond to the unique needs of populations whose cultures are different from that of the mainstream or “dominant” society. As a culturally competent agency, we strive to acknowledge and incorporate the importance of culture at all levels including our policies, procedures, administration and service delivery.
Cultural Competence comprises four components: (a) awareness of one's own cultural worldview; (b) knowledge of personal viewpoints, including attitudes and biases, towards cultural differences; (c) willingness to continuously learn about one’s own and different cultural practices and worldviews; and (d) development of cross-cultural skills (being resourceful and creative).
Striving to achieve cultural competence is a dynamic, ongoing, developmental process that requires a long-term commitment.