View this email in your browser
Continuing the Conversation
Thoughts and Tools about EDI 
                                                             July 30, 2021
EDItorial: So long for now

I have struggled for a couple of weeks about how to write this letter to all of you. My year at CDHS has been an incredible opportunity to see expertise, passion and tenacity in action. I have loved watching so many of you advocate for one another to initiate change and usher in equity for all of your colleagues. In the midst of a global pandemic and the world turned on its head because of social injustice, we often focused on all the bad in the world, but many of you showed me daily glimpses of the best of humanity. I will never be able to thank you enough for your tough questions, challenging emails and requests for me to broaden my opinion to better include different perspectives. So instead of sappy parting words, I’ll leave you with the best lessons y’all have reinforced over the past year:
  • Make space for everyone: Inclusion isn’t about right or wrong, it’s about ensuring everyone has an opportunity to be considered. We should never be too busy to speak with community members, find new partners, and ask our employees for their thoughts. We have an incredible network of people to build ideas with; let’s include as many people as we can, as often as we can.

  • The golden rule isn’t enough: Sometimes we have to go out of our way to make people feel like they belong. Kindness and courtesy are absolutely necessary, but some environments need more. If you’ve ever been the new kid in town or only (insert descriptor here) in a group, you know how hard it can be to integrate yourself without assistance from someone. Be the person who helps build the bridges and helps people belong.

  • Always remember to ask who else could be included: For anyone who works with me, they know my first question is, Who have we forgotten? Usually, the people who are most often forgotten are the people whose voices could have the most impact. If you’re ever at a loss for who might have been excluded, consult this list as a starting point. Your programs and services will be all the better for it. 
The brilliant James Baldwin said it best: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” CDHS has massive potential to catalyze equity for all of Colorado. But, the first step to making an impact is to identify the unpleasant and harmful things in our systems and make a plan to remedy them. It will make us a better agency and better people if we choose not to settle for “how it’s always been.” I am excited to see how the current and future groups of employees will propel this momentum forward and make CDHS an incredible place to work. While I won’t be here, I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines!

If you are at all interested in staying connected, please connect with me on LinkedIn. Thank you for everything.

Until we meet again,

Amanda Robinson
EDI Program Manager
The Belonging Project Book Club

The Belonging Project Book Club invites all employees to discuss "Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn't Designed for You" by Jenara Nerenberg from 1-2 p.m. Aug. 27.

If I’m honest, I chose this book at a time when I was struggling with my own obsessive-compulsive disorder and learning how to cope in this weird new hybrid world. I was hoping to find some helpful coping techniques or platitudes that would reduce my anxiety. Instead, I found a book that thoughtfully and accurately detailed the unique experiences of people who navigate the world differently due to sensory sensitivities and/or neurodivergence. This was the book I needed to read even though I didn’t realize it initially. The best lesson I gained from this book is to keep learning, so I can show up for people better each day.

A quote from the author really put things into perspective for me: “The most important thing I learned from researching and writing this book is the value of acceptance. With acceptance comes accommodation, understanding and a sense of spaciousness from others and society at large. That allows neurodivergent individuals to develop and grow in their own way and ultimately identify how to plug their strengths into neurotypical settings that once felt uncomfortable.”

My job was never to change or fix things. My job has always been to create an environment where people are safe and able to be themselves. I highly encourage everyone to read this book if you are even mildly curious about the experiences of people who are neuroatypical. 

Who it's for
  • Anyone who wants to better understand the unique experiences of people with  sensory sensitivity, autism, ADHD, etc.
  • Anyone hoping to build an environment that is more sensitive to the challenges and sensory sensitivities of their colleagues
Who it's not for
  • For once, I think everyone can benefit from reading this book because everyone knows someone or is someone with a degree of neurodivergence.
Share your story

The Belonging Project wants to hear from you! We’re looking for contributors to share their expertise and experiences. Just as our experiences are different, so are the ways we choose to express them. Writing an article or poem, sharing artwork or creating a video are just a few ways you can share your perspective. If you’d like to contribute to one of the monthly themes below, let us know >> 

●  September: Latinx and Hispanic heritage 
●  October: Disability awareness
●  November: Indigenous heritage
●  December: Classism and poverty
August observances

Did you know that August is National Immunization Awareness Month? Or that Aug. 7 is Purple Heart Day? Important but lesser-known observances like International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples are included in the image above. To see a larger version and learn more about each of the August observances, click on the image or here
How to get involved

Want to get more involved in EDI at CDHS? Check out the links below!

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, dedicated to exploring and advancing EDI at CDHS

Interest Form

The Belonging Project

Who We Are
Interest Form


Ask an EDI question

We'd love to hear from you!

This EDI publication is the product of the tremendous effort and dedication of passionate CDHS employees across the organization. Your feedback is always welcome. 

We’d also love to hear how your divisions, offices and teams are using EDI to create a more inclusive environment that celebrates diversity and creates a sense of belonging. Please direct any updates, questions or comments to the EDI inbox.
Copyright © *2018* *CDHS*, All rights reserved.


This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
CDHS - Communications · 1575 Sherman · Denver, CO 80203 · USA