Two of our staff members, Charlotte Crabtree and Jude Brown were invited to speak at the DMHA Cultural Linguistic Competency Conference, addressing Policy, Practice & Innovation in Mental Health & Addiction. Charlotte and Jude have been instrumental in helping form the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) Committee at Overdose Lifeline. They were invited to speak on their experience in forming that committee and how their methods have improved our approach and how it could help other organizations.
Before DIB Committee:
When we assessed this in our work, we referenced the data points we gather from our free naloxone kits. Of the 10k Naloxone Kits sent out, only one person identified as African American. As a non-profit whose work supports an underserved and stigmatized disease, we believed that work also extended to underserved communities. We were wrong.
This finding was the start of an ongoing discussion on how we can reach populations who have been historically underserved by us. We asked better questions and focused on training and best practices needed to effectively communicate and engage all communities.
Since DIB Committee:
Since then, the DIB Committee has enriched the work of our team by providing opportunities to increase our own understanding and awareness. They’ve hosted informative trainings around race inequities along with the academically tested S/I/E/O identities model, which focuses on unlearning an outdated science with up-to-date information.
With Charlotte’s help, we’ve partnered with other organizations who have a stronger foothold in marginalized committees for help with our outreach.
Jude, who spearheaded our volunteer program CHARIOT, found that over 20% of the volunteers in CHARIOT Identify as Queer in some way
We still have a long way to go, and we will continue to ask questions that address the heart of our work. We hope their talk inspired other organizations to reflect on their methods as much as it did ours. Thank you, Jude and Charlotte!
If you’d like to see where your Organization stands on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, start with these questions:
- -Is your organization reflective of the populations you serve? If so, how?
- -Where is your organization’s understanding of the history of black and LGBTQ+ communities? Is there opportunity for improvement?