OUR PAST 12 MONTHS
Today marks the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, and with May ending, it will bring to a close Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The last year has seen some long-overdue reflection, change, and action across our communities and country.
Over the last year, we have committed to changing our recruiting and hiring practices, how we support our staff members from all backgrounds, incorporated antiracism education with our teams, and have been increasingly mindful of how we spend our resources.. We wanted to take time to reflect on the actions we have taken over the past 12 months and commit to continuing our efforts in the future.
We have done seven internal EDI trainings:
Microaggression training - Carmen Iannarelli
Hmong 101 Workshop - Caitlin Lee, Khoua Vang, and Pa Thao
Introduction to Poverty-Informed Practice - Chad Dull
Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace - Ryan Sallans
The Intersection of our Lived & Learned Experiences Through the Lens of Belonging - Alonzo Kelly
Gray Area Thinking - Ellie Krug
Unconscious Bias Training - Adam L. Jackson
In November, we launched microLibrary For Change, a collection of books available for our employees and our community. Its mission is to activate and educate our community by providing access to diverse perspectives through literature. Earlier this year, we utilized materials from the microLibrary for the first iteration of an internal book club that centers the voices and stories of underrepresented communities. The first book selected was ‘Somewhere in the Unknown World: A Collective Refugee Memoir’ by Kao Kalia Yang, with discussions led by Caitlin Lee. We look forward to offering this opportunity for small group discussion to more employees in future iterations.
Towards the end of 2020, we launched the Nourish program. Our teams provide physical space, mentorship, and financial assistance to enable underrepresented groups to start restaurants through this program. Chekell’s SoulFood Palace has been operating out of The Nucleus’s kitchen since last year. If you have not had an opportunity to try it yet, please do! You can find more information here: https://www.chekellsoulfood.com
Last August, we provided physical space for a Black Lives Matter mural to go up at The Lismore. The mural depicts George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery, Emmett Till, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, and Marsha P. Johnson. The intent is for the mural to serve as a visual representation of the long history of racial hatred and oppression in our country.
We have worked to provide financial support to several organizations:
In June of 2020, we donated all proceeds from The Lismore to Black Visions Collective in Minneapolis.
Throughout the 2nd half of 2020, we matched employee donations to approximately 20 Black-centered organizations.
In April of 2021, we donated all proceeds from ECDC and Racy’s to the son and girlfriend of Daunte Wright.
The Lismore worked with Chippewa Valley United Relief to host a donation center for approximately two months, bringing supplies and donations from Eau Claire to Minneapolis to support the demonstrations of George Floyd’s death.
Last month, Pablo Group sponsored the Uniting Bridges Diversity Awards, which you can read more about here: https://volumeone.org/diversityawards
Over the last year, our HR team has continuously revamped and improved our recruiting and hiring process to ensure that we are more inclusive as we search for new employees. In October, we updated our handbook with a commitment to EDI. Since then, the handbook has been read and signed by every employee in our organization.
While this is not an exhaustive list of our actions over the last year and does not adequately recognize the efforts of our individual team members, we are proud of the actions we have taken and we will continue to build on this momentum. We also acknowledge that we have more to do and will continue to listen, learn, and put resources towards meeting all our goals as we remain focused on becoming an antiracist organization.