Excellence, Collaboration, Empathy, Knowledge, Integrity and Diversity are The Family Institute’s core values. While we hope these values are embedded in everything we do, we also know that upholding these values takes thoughtful attention and, sometimes, renewed effort.
Protests of systemic racism and declarations of Black Lives Matter at the beginning of summer reopened an ongoing discussion at The Family Institute and brought it to a deeper level. Employees of color felt they had not previously been heard and leadership did not fully understand the depth of systemic injustice. A group of employees approached leadership and asked that the organization engage outside expertise to ensure we were upholding our value of diversity. The leadership team soundly agreed and the organization is investing time and resources into this effort. Following a review of proposals and interviews with a number of consultants, The Family Institute selected to collaborate with Single Story, Inc. over the next three to five years. The leadership team appreciated Single Story’s understanding of and commitment to working with and balancing the diversity, equity and inclusion journeys of both the organization and the individuals that comprise it.
Cultural, organizational and systemic change is not something that happens following an hour-long workshop or a day-long retreat. The Family Institute is working with Single Story to build skill sets and resources for both the organization and its individual employees. One of the foundational ways we will do this is through SEED (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) diversity seminars that meet monthly over the course of nine months.
As individuals, we are all at different places within our own stories of awareness and cultural competency; as an organization, we are a work in progress. The Family Institute is committed to building a sustainable diversity, equity and inclusion program as we strive to do better, continuously improve and uphold our core values.
George Floyd’s death at the hands of police — and the deaths of Black Americans in the weeks prior and after — happened during an already traumatic time for the U.S. and the world. The global pandemic of COVID-19 showed us just how deeply health inequities go in our country. As significantly higher death rates ravaged our most vulnerable communities, we couldn’t even comfort each other in person or turn to our traditional ways of processing and mourning.
As a result, when we witnessed George Floyd’s lynching, our response focused on him, but was about more than him alone. George Floyd’s death served as a very visual metaphor for the insidious and systemic nature of racism. In the weeks following, people from every walk of life took to the streets — a multicultural coalition of citizens standing up for justice, while also deeply in mourning. Their actions give us hope. And our position as thought leaders in Chicago and the broader therapy world, empower us to enact radical changes.
We’ve always sought to diversify the field of therapy, and we’re honored that almost half of our student body is made up of people of color. Yet, the need to continue to push for diverse voices and leaders in therapy is incredibly apparent right now, and we want to give our students, clients, and providers everything they need to address the systemic issues that too many of us have accepted for too long.
We’ll post updates on our efforts here. Please be in touch if there’s anything you’d like us to know or consider. Thank you.