A work in progress: Reflecting on our ongoing commitment to equity and justice
At Last Mile Health, we are committed to creating an inclusive and equitable environment for all members of our community by embracing diverse voices and removing barriers caused by social injustice and inequality. Our commitment to these values extends throughout our community: from our staff to our partners, peers, and the communities we work with.
Last Mile Health unequivocally states that advancing diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and belonging within our organization and in our work is an inextricable part of our mission to save lives in the world’s most remote communities. As an organization, we take responsibility for building equity and justice and promoting diversity and inclusion in our LMH community–among our staff, communities, partners, donors, and spheres of influence.
Around the globe, organizations like Last Mile Health exist to disrupt and dismantle ideologies and systems that keep communities marginalized, disenfranchised, and oppressed. However, we recognize that whilst we believe our intentions to be positive, the fact that we operate within a sector with deep roots in colonialism, imperialism, and white supremacy means we often perpetuate discrimination and uphold inequities, both within our organizations and externally within the communities we work alongside. Historically, white voices and perspectives with more financial and positional power have dominated the public-facing narratives and dialogues about human experience, silencing and sidelining perspectives that might otherwise inspire new vision and cultivate new growth.
Last Mile Health recognizes that we currently fall short of effectively prioritizing and promoting the values of DEI. We know we have made mistakes along the way, and this is a journey that requires continuous reflection, learning, and action. We are committed to building a Last Mile Health in which all people feel safe and comfortable in their workplace and feel connected to the achievement of our collective goals. Not only does this align with our values as an organization, but having a safe, welcoming, and diverse environment will allow us to do our work better.
Toward this goal, we have launched our DEI roadmap, which defines clear activities to advance DEI by incrementally changing our policies, systems, programs and culture. By making our DEI roadmap publicly available, we aim to be transparent in our journey and to hold ourselves accountable for our actions and results, and we hope to encourage a community of learning among our peer organizations as we advance our DEI goals. With our roadmap, we commit to creating a culture in which every staff member feels safe, respected, and supported. Where structural change is needed, we will make it, no matter how uncomfortable or challenging.
Respect and appreciation for the characteristics, physical attributes, beliefs, and experiences that make people different. Having a representation of different identities among our staff and in leadership positions allows us to better critique and improve our work and make stronger decisions.
Fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people. Last Mile Health recognizes that different advantages and barriers exist in society, and as a result, we don’t all start from the same place. Equity is a process that begins by acknowledging that unequal starting place and continues to correct and address the imbalance through fair treatment and opportunities. We acknowledge that achieving true equity at Last Mile Health will be a challenging process as we address questions of power and access.
The act of creating environments and structures via procedure and policy in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to participate fully. Last Mile Health seeks to develop a culture of belonging and safety for our staff to allow them to share, as welcoming everyone’s voices helps us all do our work better.
The removal of barriers that cause inequity, allowing all people to enjoy the same economic, political, and social rights, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender, and other identity markers.
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