What does Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion mean to SMOC?

At South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC), we are putting in the work on an individual and organizational level to deepen our understanding of the role we each play in perpetuating systemic inequity. Through education, programming, and civil discourse, we hope to foster a welcoming space for staff, clients, and guests to feel a sense of belonging and safety.

Diversity

is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs

Equity

is when prior to allocation of resources and opportunities, consideration is given to the structural factors that benefit some social groups/communities and harm other social groups/communities.

Inclusion

is a commitment to the support for, representation of, and embrace of diverse social groups and identities and the establishment and sustainment of an environment where all people feel they are welcomed and belong.

A Note from Susan Gentili, President and Chief Executive Officer:

SMOC is a Community Action Agency with a deep commitment to social and economic justice. That commitment means that we must first acknowledge the legacy and prevalence of institutional and systemic racism and its impact on the communities and people we serve, as well our staff. Establishing a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion committee, made up of board members and staff; embarking on the development of an in-depth DEI Action Plan; and the creation of, and hiring of, a Diversity and Health Equity Officer were our initial steps. We have set concrete goals informed by community needs, internal staff feedback, and industry standards that will allow us to affect the change that is needed for the advancement of the social and racial justice that is a core value of our organization.

Ours is an agency committed to consciously embodying diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of our work, with the ultimate objective of achieving our core mission to fully serve low-income and marginalized individuals and families. We know that this can only be done when all feel welcomed and safe. At SMOC we are dedicated to ensuring a welcoming, inclusive place, respecting and embracing people who face interpersonal and systemic discrimination, oppression, stigmatization, and disparate treatment based on culture, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender-identity, and religious affiliation, among additional protected classes.

This webpage contains links to additional resources and materials. Information and education are important tools that can help us to learn more about history, and to appreciate and embrace our differences. We join with the NAACP in supporting “education that acknowledges collective pasts, sparks curiosity and critical thinking”, and prepares all people “for the multicultural present and future”.

[1] “In Support of Honesty, Freedom to Learn, and Anti-Racism in Education,” NAACP, accessed January 17, 2024, https://naacp.org/resources/support-honesty-freedom-learn-and-anti-racism-education.

2023 SMOC Equity Climate Survey

In June of 2022, SMOC completed its first annual Equity Climate Survey. The survey was designed to establish a baseline understanding of SMOC’s diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity efforts across the agency. The results and feedback guide our strategy by highlighting staff perception of the agency’s commitment to and progress with diversity, equity, and inclusion. In 2023 we conducted our second annual Equity Climate Survey with the following results.

Of the 258 staff who responded to the survey:

98%

perceive the agency and their program as somewhat or very committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.

82%

are very or somewhat satisfied with SMOC’s efforts towards equity.
On average, 84% report being treated with respect by clients, guests, fellow staff, management, and leadership.

96%

perceive the agency as a safe or somewhat safe environment for the LGBTQ+ community.

93%

perceive the agency as a safe or somewhat safe environment for transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse persons.

97%

perceive the agency as a safe or somewhat safe environment for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

94%

perceive the agency as a safe or somewhat safe environment for people living with disabilities.

The Equity Action Plan for South Middlesex Opportunity Council reinforces our commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion. The plan provides a structure and concrete action steps which include assigning responsibility, timelines, and metrics for success in six key focus areas; Training and Education, Policies and Procedures, Metrics and Data Collection, Human Resources, Service Delivery, and Communication.
A review of the annual survey results provides us with feedback on our progress as well as helping us set new goals.

  • The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons To Fall In Love With Me, by Keah Brown
  • Good Things, Bad Things, by Susan Nussbaum
  • The Silence Between Us, by Alison Gervais
  • Between Myself and Them, by Carol Krause
  • Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
  • Minor Feelings, by Cathy Park Hong
  • Bad Feminist, by Roxanne Gay
  • I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, by Austin Channing Brown.
  • White Fragility; Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, by Dr. Robin DiAngelo
  • The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin
  • Citizen: An American Lyric, by Claudia Rankine
  • Waking Up White & Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories From The Twenty-First Century, Edited by Alice Wong
  • We’ve Been Too Patient: Voices from Radical Mental Health, Edited by Kelechi Ubozoh and L.D. Green
  • I Am Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying, by Bassey Ikpi
  • Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race, by Megan Madison, Jessica Ralli, and Isabel Roxas
  • We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know, by Traci Sorell
  • The Star People: A Lakota Story, by S.D. Nelson
  • Jingle Dancer, by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Don’t Touch My Hair, by Sharee MillerWe C
  • ame to America, by Faith Ringgold
  • Bodies are Cool, by Tyler Feder
  • Federico and All His Families, by Mili Hernández
  • A Family is a Family is a Family, by Sara O’Leary
  • My Maddy, by Gayle E. Pitman
  • Bitter, by Akwaeke Emezi
  • The Theory of Everything
  • The Untouchables
  • Forrest Gump
  • Hidden Figures
  • Wonder
  • Milk
  • A Brilliant Mind
  • Adú
  • Champions
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • Encanto
  • Just Mercy
  • Glory
  • Confirmation
  • 15 Minutes of Shame
  • The Invisible War
  • North Country
  • Disclosure
  • The Imitation Game
  • The Intern
  • Hale
  • One Night in Miami
  • The Yellow Rose

Connect With Us