Our Commitment to Belonging, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

by | Oct 19, 2022

From Executive Director Beth Hines

Community Partners in Action (CPA) is committed to building and maintaining an inclusive, equitable workplace where people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, economic statuses, ages, genders, sexual orientations and religions feel they belong.  We are equally compelled to have a constructive impact on criminal justice reform in CT that ends racial inequities and ensures the humanity and dignity of those interacting with the system.

CPA’s commitment to ensuring our participants, the majority of whom are people of color, have the right to work; the right to an adequate standard of living including food, clothing, and housing; the right to physical and mental health services; the right to a healthy environment and the right to education has never wavered since our incorporation in 1875.  The equality we fight for on behalf of our participants extends to our dedicated staff as well. 

CPA has a long history of advocating for criminal justice reform in a system disproportionately impacting people of color. While it took the agency until the 1960s and 70s to begin transforming to a diverse staff and board that reflects the people in our programs, we have more work to do, including a focus on building a more diverse staff at our executive level.  We will continue to examine ourselves through an antiracist lens to make a significant and lasting impact on our staff and the people we serve.  

We are proud of the diversity of CPA, but we know diversity does not always equate to equity and inclusion. Therefore, we launched our Belonging, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (BEDI) Initiative in June 2020.  The initiative is led by a board-level task force that includes our executive team, program managers, and staff, in consultation with our consultants, Thought Partner Solutions (TPS).  TPS is providing the agency with strategic coaching to help us understand the complexity of cultural issues and develop a plan with adaptive interventions and transformative solutions.

CPA is committed to continuing our DEI transformation. We want to move from an organization that is culturally diverse to one that actively identifies and removes unconscious racist and bias practices embedded in our beliefs, policies, and infrastructure. While we work in a criminal justice system that is rooted in white supremacy, systemic racism, implicit bias, and exclusion, our organization is committed to leading the change towards a criminal justice system that serves all equally. Our BEDI journey will:

  • Examine our culture, objectives, and practices for bias, with initial focus on cultural and racial bias;
  • Identify the current state of the organization as it relates to BEDI;
  • Pinpoint our blind spots and learn to navigate difficult conversations;
  • Identify resources to assist us and support this work;
  • Develop a strategy to address our biases and build a more inclusive environment;
  • Create a dynamic process that is continuously monitored and evaluated to inform and position the agency to remain current as CPA and society evolve.

We will continue to grow in our work and invite feedback on our efforts and progress.  We are committed to remaining transparent throughout our mission critical DEI journey.