Program Helps Employees Cope During Unsettling Times
The racial conflict, protests and violence sweeping across the country and the world have affected everyone on some level. At Sound, over the last several weeks, team members have expressed frustration and anxiety beginning with the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd over a month ago. Furthermore, there have been several deaths and injuries, in addition to looting right here in the Seattle area. There have also been many peaceful protests as well. In the meantime, support has grown for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Effects on African Americans
For African Americans, these racially-charged incidents have increased personal anxiety and, for some, have been traumatizing. In response, Sound’s Diversity & Inclusion program has developed virtual Sharing Circles, safe zones for team members to express their feelings and listen and learn from others within the group. For African Americans, these circles have become a much-needed outlet for their emotions and concerns. In addition, many African American team members have also said the circles have reduced feelings of isolation. All sessions are strictly confidential and emphasize deep listening and suspending judgment.
For non-African Americans, the circles have also provided a valuable space to expresses their own emotions, confusion and concern related to the current conflict and controversy. Many white and non-black team members have also expressed a desire to learn how to be allies and be supportive of their African American co-workers.
Currently, there are three separate circles: The African American Sharing Circle, White Allies Sharing Circle, and the General Sharing Circle which is open to all team members. Each session is facilitated by a Sound team member.
At Sound, we want to do more than just lend a voice of support. We want to empower our team and have actual programs and activities that provide a forum for learning when it comes to issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. We are hoping more organizations will follow our lead.
For more information, contact diversity.inclusion@sound. health.