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Diversity Equality Inclusion - January 19, 2022

Be the Light

by Theresa Thomas

I’ve often heard “don’t hide your light”. While I have chosen not to hide my light, sometimes my light has been dimmed because of forces around me. A dimmed light, although helpful, may not provide the fullness of its potential unless it removes those things that are blocking its rays.

I love lighthouses. They are tall and unmistakable, but they also serve a greater purpose. A lighthouse symbolizes various things, such as overcoming challenges and adversity or guidance. It is most used to symbolize a way forward and help in navigating through the world. More than 700 lighthouses in the United States provide guidance in darkness. Goodwin Living has 953 staff, 932 residents, 667 Priority Club Members, 198 Goodwin Living at Home Members, 132 patients served through Home Health and 104 individuals receiving care through Hospice—that is nearly 3,000 people who serve as beacons of light.

Although we have been challenged these last two years by a pandemic, we have also been forced to see the inequity and racism that has always been part of our world—but now it is more front and center. How is it possible to be the light when all around us seems blurred?

The beauty of community is togetherness. The beauty of diversity is that all are welcome. The beauty of inclusiveness is everyone gets to shine their brightest. As we continue to tackle the issues of racial discrimination, social and economic inequity and political disagreements that impact local governance, we can decide to be the light that will serve as a guide to peace and equality for all.

It may seem that your light is not shining as bright, but there is hope. Stay connected to your community of support. Gain the inspiration needed to shine your brightest. Multiple lights together will send a brighter ray than a single light trying to stand alone. Don’t let yourself become discouraged or overwhelmed by what you see. You have the reinforcements needed to keep your light shining or to add a sparkle to a dimming flame.

We are witnessing change, but not enough. Diversity is a conversation but often delayed and without an action plan. Inclusion does not always result in acceptance but there is still hope. As members of the Goodwin Living family, we get to shine a light on what can be. We can stand together, work together, support each other and welcome all. When our lights shine, we resemble a lighthouse. We provide a path forward to see Diversity, Equality and Inclusion as accessible to all by the words and actions we provide.

Let Your Light Shine; we are Team Goodwin Living!

_______________

As Associate Executive Director of Goodwin House Alexandria, Theresa Thomas oversees operations covered by dining services, facilities management and environmental services. In 2020, she agreed to lead the GHI Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Committee. Theresa grew up in North Philadelphia, in a single parent household. She has experienced discrimination based on the color of her skin, her economic status and her gender. While discrimination has left some scars, it also has produced a determination to set and achieve her own goals. As the DEI Chair, Theresa seeks to listen. She believes that by listening first, we can educate and support each other on how to deconstruct a wall that has been built and fortified for years on misinformation or refusal to accept the truth.

About the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Committee: We are a group of staff and residents who together serve a mission to educate, embrace and empower a workplace of diversity, equality and inclusion. Our vision is to seek open and honest communication and collaboration that will inform and celebrate the cultural, ethnic and sexual orientation of all members of our staff without bias.
Questions or comments? Please contact us dei@goodwinliving.org

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