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Inclusion is not what we say we do; it is how we make people feel

One way we can create a revamped, inclusive environment is to dedicate ourselves to inclusivity for all. The tasks are never finished. There are always more opportunities than we can even fathom to bring people together, to experience the greatness that everyone has to offer, and create a world, a society, that is welcoming and inclusive. The only way to create an inclusive society is for each individual to make it a daily choice, a daily dedication, to create space at the table. Visit with groups or individuals you might not have a regular opportunity to do so. Experience a shared meal. All the ways we can see and share with others leads us one step closer to inclusivity and acceptance.

With that in mind, we’re hard at work creating an environment for all who we interact with and who walk through our doors, be it staff, clients, volunteers, and visitors.

Although these small acts may not seem like much, they are steps in the right direction – the direction of growth, evolution, and understanding. We must do so in order to continue being leaders in our field of refugee and immigrant services and within our communities. We must all participate in creating a more inclusive work place. I like for everyone to feel free to be who they are. We need to make this a safe space for everyone. I know it is wishful thinking but we must try. You all are already doing the heavy lifting, let’s keep at it.

Thank you again.

Arrey Obenson
President & CEO
International Institute of St. Louis

Our Why

The Agency seeks the elimination of all forms of discrimination in its work and interactions. Elimination of racial discrimination is essential. Such discrimination affects relations among all members of the community, including people affiliated with the IISTL. As a result, a racial equity lens will be incorporated into all aspects of the Institute’s work – business plans, hiring, promotion, policies and procedures, programs, and organizational performance measures.

Adoption of Racial Equity Lens Institutional Mandate

We support the reduction and elimination of all forms of discrimination at the Agency. Racial discrimination is however the most significant barrier in our region due to its widespread and ongoing impact. Such discrimination negatively affects relationships among all community members, including many residents affiliated with IISTL. Therefore, the Agency will work to alleviate this barrier by adopting a racial equity lens for application to our work.

Our racial equity lens will be incorporated into the agency’s strategic and annual business plans, policies, procedures, and programs. Progress will be measured.

Adopted by IISTL Board of Directors
February 16, 2020

IISTL is a proud supporter
of the LGBTQ+ community.