The mission of the March of Dimes is dedicated to leading the fight for the health of all moms and babies regardless of their race, income, or geographic locations. Understanding that the United States is the most dangerous country in the developed world to give birth, structural racism is a primary root cause of racial and ethnic inequities and disparities in birth outcomes.
In support of our mission, we have recently appointed our first Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement Officer to help lead the organization’s workforce through diversity and engagement initiatives with a goal and commitment to dismantle the systems of racial inequities.
To support the engagement among our staff, leadership teams, board volunteers, and partners, we have created tools to educate about stigma, stereotypes, implicit bias, and structural & intuitional racism. The attached brochure highlights information about maternal health, structural racism and the resources that March of Dimes provides.
2020 has been a challenging year with the pandemic changing the way we work, along with the racial tensions in community due to brutality and unrest. In response, the March of Dimes began a series of Courageous Conversations in an effort to help our employees understand what was happening and begin to change its impact in the workplace.
The initial challenge was identifying a safe-space where employees could comfortably talk about their feelings and experiences at the individual, organization, and community levels. The outcomes of these conversations have raised awareness of many of our employees and has created a desire to continue dialogues in support of our mission.
In an effort to elevate diverse voices and build diversity and inclusion champions, we have formed two Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s) for our African American and LGBTQ+ employees. While these two groups are in the beginning stages of their formation, we intend to continue to build additional groups throughout 2021.
March of Dimes’ holistic plan for the upcoming year includes a focus on the development of our Diversity Council, delivery of data reports, audit and goal setting on recruiting and hiring, development of inclusive leadership capabilities, board and volunteer recruitment and a dynamic learning curriculum in support of becoming an anti-racist organization.
We can all take a greater role in building awareness in our communities to fight systemic inequities and rally support for solutions.