Diversity and Inclusion Committee – a Year in Review
By Sarah Jessop, Secretary for the Diversity and Inclusion Committee (She/Her)
In the year 2020, a series of unconscionable events publicly uncovered long-standing racial inequities in North America. In February, a young black man named Ahmaud Arbery went for a jog and never returned home to his family. Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker, was killed by police officers in her own apartment.
The murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was captured on camera in a video that shocked and outraged us all. The Covid-19 pandemic brought about racist attacks against the Asian community, and racial and ethnic minorities were disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 due to a history of systemic racism.
These senseless and tragic events laid bare a hard truth that compelled us to take action. People from all over the world woke up and recognized that sitting idly by and “not being a racist” will not stop racism and discrimination.
In order to make a difference, we must work together and create change through an anti-racism and antidiscrimination lens.
As a result of this, a group of ASP employees and leaders came together in August of 2020 to create our Diversity and Inclusion committee. Our members share the common goal of ensuring that all ASP employees have a seat at the table.
Our purpose is to develop Diversity and Inclusion initiatives that will ensure that all employees are respected, valued and given every opportunity to succeed.
We are focused on equity, which means that we recognize that each person or group has different circumstances and we must allocate resources and opportunities accordingly
to reach an equal outcome.
The committee is co-chaired by Neeru Panjwani, Employer Chair and Melicia Gregory, Employee Chair. To make ourselves easily identifiable to our employees, the Diversity and Inclusion committee created our own logo based on the original ASP branding. Keep an eye out for this logo as you should be able to spot it in all of our past, present, and future communications.
During our first meeting, our committee quickly realized that the voice of our employees will guide our action plan. For this reason, we developed our first initiative – the Diversity and Inclusion Survey.
The Diversity and Inclusion Survey was centred around researched constructs of inclusion, such as fairness, belonging, and voice. It measured your opinion on the degree to which our culture creates an inclusive environment where people of all cultures, background and identities can thrive.
We used your feedback to guide all of the programs we developed and implemented. You may recall the following:
Black History Month Roundtable February 2021
The purpose of the roundtable was to create a safe space for Black ASP employees to come together and share their thoughts and experiences. The event was hosted by Melicia Gregory, the Employee Chair of ASPs Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Melicia, along with many other ASP employees, did an excellent job in celebrating black culture whilst also educating all those in attendance about their lived experiences.
International Women’s Day – May 8, 2021:
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked our women-identifying employees to submit their photo and a message for our newsletter on what it’s like to work at ASP It was wonderful to hear from so many of you across the organization.
Asian Heritage Month Roundtable May 2021
This event was chaired by ASP employee Fanny Tran, PSR at Billy Bishop Airport and guest-host Joanna Zhang, Executive Assistant at the GTAA. During the roundtable, our employees shared their experiences around Asian heritage with the intention of celebrating the contributions made by Asian Canadians. Those in attendance openly discussed the issues that continue to impact many Asian communities today. Like the Black History Month Roundtable, this was a beautiful event that increased awareness and understanding within those who attended.
Mental Health Week – May-3-9, 2021:
During Mental Health Week, we sent out a link to our EAP provider’s (LifeWorks) new website that is all about self-care. The microsite explores why self-care should be part of your routine and how to work it into your daily life, no matter the situation. As a reminder, the link can be found here:
Pride Month – June 2021
In June 2021, ASP’s Diversity and Inclusion committee ran our first ever Pride Month roundtable.
This event was organized to celebrate ASP’s LGBTQ2S+ employees and their allies, and to address and understand the various issues LGBTQ2S+ individuals face in the workplace.
The roundtable was chaired by Christine Parkinson, Tanner Parkinson and Sarah Jessop. For more information, please see the Pride Month Roundtable article that is included in this newsletter.
For the month of June, ASP updated our branding to include the Pride flag rainbow colouring. It is important to mention that ASPs support of the LGBTQ2s+ community goes far beyond one month of recognition. This act simply served as a symbol of our year round allyship.
National Indigenous Peoples Day June 21, 2021:
This year, National Indigenous Day was dedicated to the missing children, the families left behind, and the survivors of residential schools.
ASP stands in solidarity with Indigenous communities across Canada as we continue to mourn this tragedy. In the June 2021 memo that was released by our committee, we asked our Indigenous ASP employees to share their experiences with us.
We’d like anyone reading this newsletter to review the beautiful and poignant article entitled “Wachiya!” that was written by ASP employee Katrina Stachurski. Katrina is a Canine Handler and a proud member of the Indigenous community.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation September 30, 2021
September 30, 2021 was the first formally recognized National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. This day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.
ASP sent out an informative article in September to educate our employees on the history and significance of this day.
We encourage you all to continue learning more about the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and stories of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people by visiting the Government of Canada’s website: https://www.rcaanccirnac.gc.ca/eng/1621447127773/1621447157184
Other initiatives included:
- Implementation of our Workplace Harassment, Violence and Bullying Prevention Policy in 2021
- Increased email and newsletter communication on behalf of the Diversity and Inclusion committee for important events, holidays, observances and resources
- Launch of our Diversity and Inclusion Inbox – email@example.com This provides a direct line of contact between our employees and the committee. It is a great way to ask us questions or make suggestions.
Moving Forward Upcoming 2021 Initiatives
As you can see, our committee was busy over the last year! 2021 isn’t over yet, so please keep an eye out for a few more initiatives coming your way. This includes:
ASP Diversity and Inclusion SelfIdentification Survey
We will be sending out a link to our Self-Identification Survey via ISpring in the near future. By completing this survey, you will be helping our committee capture an accurate picture of our diverse workforce, which will in turn allow us to design and implement thoughtful initiatives that are intended to leverage the diversity in our workplace. Many of you have already discovered and completed this survey as it is showing under your ISpring courses – thank you for being so proactive!
2021 Diversity and Inclusion Survey
In November 2021, we will once again be asking you to complete the Diversity and Inclusion Survey that you answered in 2020. Last years results were critical in helping us design our 2021 initiatives, and so we will use your feedback to guide us into the New Year!
Do you stand against racism and all forms of discrimination? Are you committed to expanding our inclusion and anti-discrimination practices and policies? If so, we’d love for you to apply for a membership with our committee. We are specifically looking for frontline employees to join the committee as we require more representation and expertise from this area. Please note that as an hourly employee, you would be compensated for any Diversity and Inclusion Committee meetings you attend on your day-off. To find out more, apply to join
through the link below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Please be sure to share with us why you are passionate on this topic. https://www.security-asp.com/diversity-and-inclusion/
If you have any questions for our committee, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com