Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism
When Special Olympics launched in 1968, the mission was to end discrimination against individuals with intellectual disabilities through the power of sports. Inclusion has been at the forefront of the organization’s values since Day 1, and there cannot be true, all-encompassing inclusion without understanding the importance of diversity in a movement that seeks to break down barriers.
In the decades since its inception, the world has continued to change and Special Olympics, like the rest of the world, continues to adapt. Special Olympics Southern California values, celebrates and respects the various differences, neurodiversities, backgrounds and perspectives that makeup the Special Olympics athlete and world population.
DIVERSITY VISION STATEMENT
HOW WE GET THERE: PRINCIPLES FOR ACTION
Our culture fosters a sense of belonging and support throughout the organization and the activities we sponsor. We actively invite individuals to fully and effectively participate in and contribute to critical organizational goals and processes.
The work we do is characterized by fair treatment and open access to resources and opportunities.
We regularly and intentionally examine our policies, procedures, routines and unconscious bias to uncover the presence of systemic racism and actively dismantle and replace them with systems that promote and support equity for all.
HEAR FROM THE ATHLETES
COUNCIL ON DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND ANTI-RACISM
Administrator, Sports and Programs
Manager, Public Relations & Social Media
Director Development, Santa Barbara County
Director, Sports and Programs
Assistant VP, Unified Champion Schools
Senior Manager, Development
Senior Manager, Human Resources
Director Development, San Luis Obispo County
WHAT WE'VE ACCOMPLISHED
- SOSC established the Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism, consisting of up to 15 employees who meet monthly. View the Council charter.
- Employees participated in an interactive workshop and breakout sessions tailored to address diversity, inclusion and anti-racism at the two-day 2021 SOSC Employee Conference in January. The breakout sessions provided input that helped the Council understand some of the needs of employees and of the organization as a whole.
- As part of the Individual Goal setting process in January 2021, every employee created a goal to spend time reading books or articles and/or watching videos to increase their awareness of diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism issues. They also made a commitment to participate in SOSC initiatives around the issues.
- The Council drafted a Diversity Vision Statement for SOSC. The statement was approved by the Board of Directors in November 2021. View the statement.
- The Board of Directors created the Diversity Sub-Committee to concentrate on identifying strong candidates for Board consideration with a heightened focus on identifying potential members from diverse backgrounds.
- We launched an Intranet Hub for employees containing information and resources on diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism.
- We created SOSC’s diversity, inclusion and anti-racism webpage to share SOSC’s vision and goals with the public.
- We formed dialogue groups in which employees volunteered to participate in small groups in a series of facilitated discussions about a range of topics such as implicit bias, social identities and racism. The purpose was to foster an environment in which employees could learn with and from each other about these subjects and help them address these issues at work and in their personal lives.
- We identified that we have not highlighted an equitable number of stories about people of color in SOSC’s marketing and communications promotions. To help correct this, we updated processes to ensure we balanced who we featured, including ethnicities, age, religion, gender identity, and more. This includes translating the SOSC website into seven languages (with more to come), photos, stories, and videos. We shared these materials on the WeAreSOSC blog, through emails, and on social media.
- Employees participated in an interactive workshop and breakout sessions tailored to address diversity, inclusion and anti-racism at the one-day 2022 SOSC Employee Conference in January. The breakout sessions provided a means for all employees to provide input on their areas of further learnings on DIAR issues. This input will inform our 2022 and 2023 operating plans.
- As part of the Individual Goal setting process in January 2022, every employee created a goal to spend time reading books or articles and/or watching videos to increase their awareness of diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism issues. They also made a commitment to participate in SOSC initiatives around the issues.