May 25 will mark the first anniversary of the killing of George Floyd. While our community continues to heal, we at ServeMinnesota are making significant changes in our organization to help eliminate racial disparities across Minnesota. Over the last year, we have:
- Hired a vice president of equity and inclusion, Dr. Sandy Pulles, to lead equity initiatives at ServeMinnesota and to connect with community members and AmeriCorps members.
- Launched the Racial Equity and Inclusion board committee, chaired by AmeriCorps alum Sumee Lee, to oversee impact, initiatives, outcomes, programming, hiring and strategies centering racial equity and inclusion.
- Provided training opportunities for AmeriCorps programs on inclusive recruitment and retention strategies, in partnership with the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration.
- Conducted listening sessions and surveys with members who identify as Black, Latinx, Asian, American Indian and Indigenous, to learn about their experiences and develop ideas for program improvement.
- Partnered with higher education institutions to create career pathways for members during or after their service, and identified opportunities to reduce costs.
- Conducted listening sessions with parents and caregivers in our communities to elevate the community’s voice and understand how to develop our programs to meet their needs.
- Launched new partnerships in rural communities like Long Prairie, Minn., that have changing demographics, such as more Latinx students.
- Joined America’s Service Commission’s new Justice, Equity, and Inclusion work group: a shared space to discuss inclusive practices and initiatives with commissions across the country and U.S. territories.
- Launched team diversity, equity and inclusion goals across ServeMinnesota departments.
These changes are just the start of what is to come — and they’re just one small part of the impact ServeMinnesota has had in creating powerful community solutions. We’d also like to highlight our members: Collectively, they have created a lasting impact on the communities they serve, and their individual stories and experiences have made a unique contribution to advancing Minnesota toward being a more equitable place for all to thrive