Race Equity Statement from Center on Halsted

Our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work is a continuous journey for us. We have made mistakes in the past and we still don’t have this all figured out, yet we remain thoughtful and intentional on how to move forward. We are humbled by the hope that through this work, we can grow and come up with actions to repair our mistakes and confident that through this, we will strengthen our work in community.

When there is a gap between our community’s expectations and observations, within that gap lies our opportunity to improve. We welcome collaborative discussion and dialogue to hold us accountable when community observations are not aligned with expectations. Your voices help us to be a better center. We want to sincerely thank community members who have helped us to get here over the years

Center on Halsted is committed to challenging and dismantling systemic racism. Our Board, Senior Leadership, and staff members strive to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within and outside our doors. We understand this as necessary, in order to honor and accomplish our mission to advance community and secure the health and well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people of Chicagoland.

Center on Halsted is a catalyst advocating for racial equity for all LGBTQ individuals, allies, and their intersectional identities. With our partners we fight racism, bias, and hate. We commit to take intentional action, remain humble, defend equitable policy-making, and seek accountability in the collective effort to foster resilient communities.

Some recent concrete examples of how we have put our ideals into action include:

· Creating a Senior Leadership position dedicated to embedding DEI within our organizational culture and provide oversight of DEI strategic planning implementation.

· Establishing standing board and staff Equity Leadership Groups (ELGs) focused on DEI strategic planning. Our ELGs meet monthly and have worked diligently alongside our DEI leadership to develop our:

o Race Equity Statement (italicized above)

o Equity Tool

o Priority Subcommittees to tackle priority DEI areas

  • Human Resources
  • Practices, Policies, and Procedures
  • Communications

As an organization, we understand our commitment to DEI underscores that we are not working towards a singular goal but are committed to a constant process and improvement. In this, we have outlined a number of objectives that will align our DEI process moving forward. Additional DEI objectives include:

  • Actively recruit and retain diverse and culturally competent staff members while intentionally building a stronger culture of inclusion within our organization.
  • Fortify our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by utilizing the equity tool in strategic planning and regular programmatic decision-making. Allowing our Board and Staff Equity Leadership Group oversight of equitable decision-making processes.
  • Work to ensure our development and vendor practices support Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC)-led businesses and businesses located in under-resourced communities. We will strive to accomplish this by regularly reviewing our corporate, grant, sponsorship, and vendor agreements support our established DEI values.
  • Diversify our clients, staff, leadership, partners, and board members to ensure all of COH is representative of the opportunities and services we endeavor to make available in all communities regardless of background and/or experiences.
  • Expand talent development opportunities for staff. Work to eliminate barriers to upward mobility for emerging BIPOC leaders. Examine how we work as an organization and where bias may be presenting unnecessary obstacles to success.
  • Regularly report back to our staff, board, and community to share DEI objective updates and receive feedback and insights.

Thank you for partnering with us. Thank you to the many who have been on your own DEI journey and are challenging your status quo within and outside your walls. We acknowledge and admire your courage. We urge you to continue, to demand more of us, yourselves and each other in the fight for diversity, equity, and inclusion even in these trying times.

Thank you,

In Solidarity,

Modesto Tico Valle
CEO, Center on Halsted

Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s largest community center dedicated to advancing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Movement.