Valuing staff, partners, membership and the youth we serve through centering equity
Centering equity is a main goal and the focus of The Corps Network’s 2023-2027 strategic plan.
The Corps Network has a duty as a membership organization and prominent voice in the Corps movement to guide and collaborate with our members to ensure equity is at the forefront of all we do. We aim to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice through trainings, webinars, working groups and several other initiatives.
The Corps Network’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice work is a team effort led by Tia Blakney, Program and DEIJ coordinator (read a statement from Tia here).
Previously, this part of our work took place under the umbrella of the Moving Forward Initiative. Learn more here.
As we move in a new and important direction in our organization, see our equity statement to learn about the work that we are committed to and the first steps towards these goals.
Read The Corps Network’s Equity Statement
As the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps programs, The Corps Network’s mission is to advance programs that transform young people’s lives and communities through career development, civic engagement, and conservation. Collectively, our programs serve over 20,000 diverse young adults, or Corpsmembers, each year, who work side-by-side to improve communities across the country. We have learned that in order to achieve our mission, we must address the inequities that limit young people, communities, and the environment.
Programs like ours have often held an equality frame – that if we provide people and communities equal access to opportunities, services, and supports, everyone will achieve the same benefits and outcomes. Throughout the history of the Corps movement beginning with the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and throughout the evolution of many youth and Conservation Corps, there has been both discrimination and disparities in who benefits from Corps opportunities, services, and supports. That history and our experience has led us, like many, to recognize that equal opportunity is not enough because individuals do not start in the same place and face different barriers, including interpersonal, institutional, and structural racism. We therefore have embraced an equity frame. We define equity as fairness and justice achieved through systematically assessing disparities in opportunities, outcomes, and representation, and redressing those disparities through targeted actions.
The Moving Forward Initiative is an initiative launched with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2017 to explore unconscious bias and structural racism within our own organization and network in order to dismantle barriers and advance opportunities for BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) Corpsmembers and communities.
We have since committed as an organization to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Through this definition and commitment, The Corps Network aims to value all types of diversity, pursue equitable results, and to identify and dismantle inequities, including those present in ourselves, our organization, and the communities we serve. None of us can create change alone and your input and partnership will be essential to move this work forward and help us stay accountable for results.
Next Steps: How the Corps Network is implementing this vision
In our effort to continually learn and improve our practice of equity, TCN:
- Included equity goals within our strategic plan;
- Will pursue an equity audit to develop goals and metrics for continuous learning and improvement;
- Will update our resource library for Member Corps including a toolkit to support Member Corps equity work;
- Annually review and report on activities that advanced equity in our organization and network and the results.
Read a Message from Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President & CEO
Read a Message from Tia Blakney, Program and DEIJ Coordinator
DEIJ Monthly Bulletin Board
Find resources such as trainings, discussion questions, and upcoming events here.
Filipino American History Month (October)
Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15)
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.” was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988
In 1968, National Hispanic Heritage Month was originally a weeklong celebration called National Hispanic National Week as a result of legislation by Rep. Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles and then signed into law by President Lydon Johnson. It was expanded to a month-long celebration in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan.
“The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30-day period.”
- Video to go along with article https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KBOeLoDnkc
- Resource https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/index.html
- Latino Inventors: https://www.history.com/news/latino-hispanic-inventions
- Read TCN Blog on Latino Heritage Internship Program: https://corpsnetwork.org/celebrating-latino-heritage-through-corps-service-and-federal-career-pathways-the-latino-heritage-internship-program/
Disability Pride Month
“The American Bar Association states Disability Pride Month celebrates disabled persons embracing their disabilities as integral parts of who they are, reclaiming visibility in public and interacting fully with their disabilities out in the open, and rejecting shame and internalized ableism. It is a time for the disability community to come together, uplift, and amplify one another’s voices and be heard. Disability pride has been described as “accepting and honoring each person’s uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity.” https://youtu.be/tLEyjRxT3bo
In looking to both recognize the month as well as honor the woman, Judith Heumann, who recently passed away March 4, 2023 and is described as the Mother of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we would like to share these videos as well as two links that will give all of us the opportunity to learn about this hidden figure in history for many of us – Judith Heumann as well as better understand why we should also be advocates.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLSCjRqtzWY (Judy Heumann short video) (2:43)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CygWeoaTtkc (Discrimination on the basis of Disability – Judith Heumann testifying) (2:24)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzW3Mm61OP8&t=10s (Part 2 – Discrimination on the basis of Disability) (7:17)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avH8g2sgb0s&t=48s (Part 3 – Discrimination on the basis of disability) (8:43)
- https://adata.org/factsheet/ADA-overview#:~:text=The%20Americans%20with%20Disabilities%20Act%20(ADA)%20became%20law%20in%201990,open%20to%20the%20general%20public. (An Overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act)
- https://judithheumann.com/ (Judith Heumann website)
Corpsmember Liberation and Leadership
Learn about The Corps Network’s unique workshop designed to support young people of color and uncover the impact of systemic racism on the individual.
DEIJ Webinars and Workshops from The Corps Network
DEIJ Blog Content from The Corps Network
Program and DEIJ Coordinator