Colorado Department of Human Service stands against systemic racism

No to racism

The Colorado Department of Human Service (CDHS) stands against systemic racism. We are in solidarity with those who are seeking justice for George Floyd and too many others, unequivocally saying that racism has no place in our communities and we call for action to dismantle it.    

That sounds great. But really, they’re just words. Since the murder of George Floyd, similar words have been thrown around, speeches delivered, and a lot of talking occurred. What is clear is that just talking about systemic racism accomplishes nothing. We know simply declaring our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion won’t change the past or the future. It will take much more than that.

At CDHS it begins by taking a critical, honest look at ourselves, listening intently to staff, stakeholders and, most importantly the Coloradans we serve. Only through this dialog will we become as educated as we can in regards to systemic racism.  

We have spent the last couple of weeks doing that, and we will continue to do so, as the learning will never stop. The dialog is critical. It is essential that we have conversations, share thoughts and ideas, and continue to learn. But without action, nothing changes.

That is why we are creating an Equity Action Plan built upon all these words. This plan will change the culture of our organization and shape the future of the services we provide.

Our Equity Action Plan takes a comprehensive approach, focusing on leadership, communication, education and training, recruitment, hiring, promotion and retention, policy and program assessment, and employee and community engagement. Everything is on the table and an honest assessment is taking place. We have to know where we are to get to where we want to be — a humble, learning and equitable organization.

We have much work to do, and will doggedly pursue a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion at CDHS. Only by ensuring that CDHS practices what it preaches can we provide that level of service to those we serve, and to each other.
Michelle Barnes
Executive Director
Colorado Department of Human Services