EFFORTS TOWARD EQUITY: REFLECTIONS ON JUNETEENTH

"Effort towards Equity" A Letter from BBBSMI CEO Amy Kuchta

In 2021, when Juneteenth was rightfully recognized as a federal holiday, Benefit Dinner had already been booked for June 20, the day Juneteenth was to be celebrated. This year we were thankful to have the opportunity to recognize Juneteenth together with our Big Brothers Big Sisters community at the 45th Annual Benefit Dinner.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is committed to honoring this remarkable day. Moving forward, Benefit Dinner will not coincide with this holiday.

Juneteenth is a reflective day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.  

Commemorating Juneteenth also challenges us to recognize our participation in systems that undermine equity and justice. We reflect on our efforts to lift up individuals and families in our community and to tear down systems of oppression. 

COLLECTIVE IMPACT ON HIRING PRACTICES

Because of your support, we have had a collective impact on the hiring practices of the entire Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) network. With a group of peers, we successfully lobbied to remove BBBSA’s requirement of a college degree for many of the agency’s positions. 

By removing barriers to employment in our agency locally, and in the federation nationally, we’ve increased the pool of folks Big Brothers Big Sisters can employ.

Requiring a college education inadvertently excluded the value of experience and qualification while reinforcing unintentional bias toward race and historic access to capital. 

PAY EQUITY

Locally, we include salary bands on each job posting. We have worked in partnership with the Stryker Johnston Foundation to enact pay equity across our agency decreasing expensive turnover.

Our next effort on the national level is to continue pushing for all Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies to engage in more equitable hiring practices by sharing pay bands on their position descriptions.  

CULTURAL COMPETENCY LEARNING

Big Brothers Big Sisters continues to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion training across all departments. This includes focusing on coaching Bigs as they experience opportunities for cultural competency with their Littles.

We’ve also increased opportunities to talk about cultural competency and the current impacts of systemic oppression during volunteers’ onboarding, and during our own interview process for staff. 

WELCOMED, HEARD, VALUED, RESPECTED

We don’t have all of the answers. We are committed to seeking and providing learning opportunities for team members, leadership, board members, and volunteers in order to create an environment where everyone we interact with feels welcomed, heard, valued, and respected. 

Survey data proves that having a Big truly helps youth understand and reach their potential. Last year, 94% of our Littles reported maintaining or increasing scholastic competence.

Another 96% reported maintained or increased educational expectations linked to academic achievement, high school graduation, and college attendance. 92% reported maintained or increased parental trust, and 96% reported having a special adult in their life. Both are tied to improved school attendance and grades. 

Your support of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Benefit Dinner makes you a part of this work and these efforts. Thank you.

Together we can move toward environments where everyone is welcomed, heard, valued, and respected. 

Thank you for being a part of our journey,
Amy Kuchta
Chief Executive Officer

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