The BCC Compass – March 2022
One year ago in West Virginia, we launched our Open Forums initiative – an opportunity for members of our BCC family to share ideas and maintain a culture where we can learn and grow together.
After an engaging discussion, forum participants were motivated to continue these crucial conversations and foster genuine relationships with one another.
That’s why I am incredibly excited that this year, we are implementing bi-annual Open Forums at each of BCC’s six campuses. It’s yet another way our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan 2022–2025 is helping our organization enhance a culture of assessment and accountability for inclusivity at every level.
The idea for these forums was born out of our racism town halls, which were held at our Early Learning Program in Washington D.C.
Here’s how the Open Forums work.
Before each event, leaders of individual campuses meet with EDI Committee members to learn about potential discussion topics and how to constructively receive feedback from staff.
Recognizing some topics may be hard to discuss or trigger emotional reactions, staff members start each forum by reviewing the “safety commitments.” These commitments help participants provide support to each other and give and receive feedback in a healthy and respectful manner.
Then, the discussions begin. After each forum, leaders take what was discussed and come up with solutions to address concerns and improve inclusivity.
For example, during a recent forum at BCC’s Mechanicsburg, PA campus, staff members said they wanted more education to better support LGBTQ+ youth who are transitioning. We are now incorporating intensive training based around the LGBTQ+ community and affirming care for leadership and staff.
To make it easy for all staff to attend the forums, we will offer both in-person and online options.
It’s amazing to see our staff courageously express what they want and need to feel connected to the people we serve and each other.
Our commitment is to amplify all voices. With these forums, we hope to create a safe space where people can open their minds and hearts to endless possibilities.
To learn when your next Open Forum takes place, please reach out to your senior campus leader.
Laurie Anne “LA” Spagnola
President & CEO