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Good things take time; Asante is leading the way

As we celebrate Juneteenth and Pride Month, we recognize the value of each color in the rainbow.

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In 1862, in the southern United States, I would be a slave. I would neither be able to read, nor write this article. With my light skin, I might have been lucky enough to work inside the house but nonetheless would have been a slave.

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Lincoln declared that “all persons held as slaves are, and henceforward shall be free,” thus freeing more than 3 million slaves.

On June 19, 1865, the state of Texas received the news that slavery had been abolished.

On June 19, 1866, Juneteenth became an unofficial holiday.

On June 19, 1980, Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas and other states subsequently followed.

On June 19, 2021, Juneteenth became a federal holiday.

On June 19, 2020, a year before Juneteenth became a federal holiday, Asante launched its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion steering committee, recognizing the historical significance of the day.

1924 marks one of the earliest known organized pursuits of LGBTQ rights in the United States and the founding of the Society of Human Rights in Chicago by Henry Gerber.

On June 28, 1969, rioting for gay rights began.

On June 27, 1970, the first pride parade took place.

Celebrating hasn’t changed

LGBT Pride Month is celebrated much the same as Juneteenth was celebrated over 150 years ago — and still is. Food, music, prayer, community and outdoor events where social and self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights and equality are the standard.

Asante’s ED&I committee is composed of employees from across the organization tasked with ensuring we’re living our Asante Values; brainstorming ideas and solutions for improvement; and listening to the voices of our employees and community for opportunities to engage and act.

In its first year, the committee has taken several meaningful steps to advance equity, diversity and inclusion at Asante and within our community:

  • An EDI representative is participating in a community group addressing health equity specific to COVID-19 vaccine access and hesitancy.
  • A representative also sits on the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems’ Health Equity Advisory Taskforce as part of a statewide EDI initiative.
  • Human Resources policies are being examined on their review dates to remove bias and gender-specific pronouns when possible.
  • An outside agency specializing in marginalized groups is helping Asante improve diversity in our workforce candidate pool nationally.
  • Focus groups with providers and employees from all levels have been held to learn about primary diversity concerns and top issues for the committee to address.
  • Specific EDI concepts are regularly highlighted in Asante News to educate employees on various topics.
  • Diversity and culture questions have been added to our Employee Engagement Survey to help the organization gain insight and guide the committee’s future work.

Both Pride and Juneteenth can be represented by the colors of the rainbow. All the colors are beautiful. All the colors work together to make a complete rainbow. All the colors can be mixed and matched. All the colors are needed and welcome. All the colors shine brightly for all to appreciate. Each color is extraordinary on its own and recognizes the magnificence of the colors next to it. Each color on its own is cause for celebration.

As we embrace Juneteenth 2022, we reaffirm our commitment to providing an inclusive culture for humans — the employees and patients that are Asante. We invite you all to join us in offering a safe space for dialogue, a safe space to be human. If you have ideas to share or questions, please email the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion steering committee at [email protected].

What is EDI?

After the civil unrest in summer 2020, it became apparent that America — and Asante — must do more to promote social justice and try to eliminate biases. The result was the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee.

The team of employees and leaders is focusing on employee engagement, patient engagement, community outreach, policy management, employee and leadership development, and communications

The intent of the work not only is to embrace diversity at Asante, but to recognize our commonalities. If you are interested in the work of equity, diversity and inclusionemail us with your comments and suggestions.

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