Introducing our 2022 staff Racial Equity and Inclusion (REI) Committee comprised of eight staff members who will advise the Executive Team on racial equity vision, strategy and transformation within our agency in the months to come. Read on to learn what they are looking forward to and the unique perspectives they'll bring to the REI work ahead.
kat acosta - major gifts officer
“I find this work meaningful as Health Care for the Homeless takes steps forward, looking inward and examining how it responds to racism and it's impacts, especially on the health and safety of our staff and those who seek our care. In my story telling about who we are at Health Care for the Homeless, I think that it is important to be authentic in this conversation and call out the unique space Health Care for the Homeless serves in, as a clinic at the intersection of health and anti-racism work.”
Eva Hendrix-Shovlin - Case Manager (returning member)
"The last year has been the most joyful, impactful and challenging experience of my time at Health Care for the Homeless. I’ve had convicting moments as a white person to step up my game and re-commit to anti-racism. To be a small part of the movement that’s supported things like pay equity, new vendor partnerships, integrating land acknowledgements into events and more has been inspiring. The community building and chance to create shared language has been amazing, and I can’t wait for another year to build on this work."
Arianne Jennings, LCPC - Behavioral health Coordinator (returning member)
“I am happy to use my platform and personal experiences to help tackle the racial inequities within our society and push for equality and inclusion among us all at Health Care for the Homeless.”
max romano, md - medical provider
“We are a diverse organization serving mostly people of color disadvantaged by a discriminatory housing system in Baltimore, and I believe that explicitly confronting racism is necessary for us to achieve our mission to end homelessness. I think this requires internal work supporting staff of color and external work supporting our clients in antiracist ways, and I would like to be part of this work. My understanding of racism has evolved from one of remorse for past sins to outrage over ongoing injustices and resolution to work towards a more antiracist future.”
Jill steele-mcghee - real estate developer
“When I researched Health Care for the Homeless during my interview process, I learned of the REI committee and the Agency’s goal to pursue racial equity and inclusion throughout the organization’s work to fulfill the mission. I knew then I wanted to be involved if given the opportunity. I believe racial equity is crucial to have a just society. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated, 'No one is free until we are all free.' In Baltimore, 70% of renters paying more than 50% of their income in rent represents African American and Hispanic renters. Providing affordable housing is my way of improving outcomes for all racial groups.”
jesus talavera - covid screener/client service representative
“I want to be part of a movement that chooses not to ignore race and, confront the ugly reality that it has played through the history of the world. Since I am the first person clients interact with it has been a priority from the first day I got here to always provide the best customer service regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Correcting myself with simple things such as not immediately assigning a gender to someone I haven't spoken with. Treating every client the same regardless of race and, greeting every client that comes through that door with a smile behind my mask and a comforting tone. I feel I can overcome my unconscious-biases with time and effort and being on the REI is a great step on my journey to truly understanding equity and racial inclusion.”
syandene "Cece" underwood, bsw - Housing Services case manager
"I want to expand my mind to what may be the internal biases that I need to work on. I want to be part of the creation of change in my agency. I love making new ideas. I am not the smoother and shaper of thoughts but I really love coming up with big ideas in the hopes of finding great solutions. I think we are doing really well as an agency, but there's no need to stop growing in our cultural changes."
Malcolm Williams, LCSW-C - Client Relations Coordinator (returning member)
"I am truly excited about engaging in the REI work ahead. Participating in strategic work that makes this organization better is both important and rewarding. I observed this first-hand when serving as a staff representative on the Strategic Planning Committee in 2012. As a result, addressing institutional racism and strategically advocating for racial justice in the agency was a no-brainer, as I have been devoted to this type of work my entire life. Advancing racial equity serves as an essential component in job satisfaction, performance, and agency climate. I look forward to exploring how this will impact our clients. If we observe an increase in staff satisfaction through the advancement of REI, I am certain we will correspondingly see an increase in client satisfaction regarding care. As a conscious African American male who is a fourteen-year veteran of an agency whose majority of clients are African Americans, I am excited to lend my voice to tackling racial inequities head-on in order to build organizational growth."
Meet our Board REI Sub-Committee Learn about our REI work