At Alameda Health System (AHS) diversity, equity and inclusion are inextricably linked to our mission and the Black Employee Affinity/Ally Network (BEAN) is leading the way in fostering an inclusive work environment where all feel valued, included and empowered to succeed.
“We value and respect employees of all backgrounds and identities,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Lorna Jones. “Diverse perspectives are essential to achieving our mission and employee affinity and ally groups like BEAN provide a supportive space to talk, be heard, connect and celebrate in community within the work environment.”
Since launching in spring 2022, BEAN members meet regularly to share experiences, exchange ideas and organize events that help build a culture of inclusion across AHS.
This month in celebration of Black History Month, BEAN is sponsoring a series of events and activities available to all employees. On Thursday, February 16, 2023, employees are invited to hear guest speaker and renowned fiber artist Ora Clay present on the rich history of African American quilting and the historical messages embedded in quilts during the time of the Underground Railroad. She will also share some of the intricate quilts she creates that tell stories of her family’s history and culture.
In addition, on Friday, February 17, 2023, BEAN encourages employees to wear clothing that speaks to their heritage for cultural clothing day. Staff can also view and download a notebook featuring influential Black Americans and their contributions throughout history. These are just some of many exciting Black History Month events and activities planned.
Since launching in spring 2022, BEAN members not only support cultural and educational events at work, but they also place a priority on finding ways outside of AHS to support the health and wellness of our diverse and underserved communities.
For example, in December 2022 they teamed up with the AHS dental program to provide oral kits to students at REACH Academy in Oakland. They distributed over 150 dental kits that included toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, tips for healthy teeth and referral information for the Eastmont Wellness Center Pediatric Dental Clinic.
By sponsoring events like these, BEAN is helping to realize the vision of the Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (HEDI) for AHS to be a diverse, multi-cultural, anti-racist organization that advances equity, justice, well-being and belonging in our community.
“Being part of an affinity/ally group isn’t intended to divide our employees but instead prevent racial isolation in the workplace,” said BEAN member and System Director for Environmental Health and Safety, Sandra Williams. “No ethnic group is monolithic however we do have shared interests, values and history and I encourage employees from the Black Diaspora and our allies to join BEAN and together we can make a difference in the lives of our patients, communities and each other.”