BuckeyeThon's Next Steps for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
June 20, 2020 Statement:
We have been taking time in the past few weeks to reflect internally, educate ourselves and amplify the voices of the Black community within BuckeyeThon. We apologize for not bringing the voices of our Black students to the table when crafting our initial statement. We acknowledge that we have room to grow in supporting the Black community at Ohio State and recognize that we have a platform, and a duty to every child at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Black community to speak up and advocate for change. Through conversations with our General Body, we have been able to collaborate and create a set of next steps for BuckeyeThon. Today, we are making a commitment to change, and finding ways to integrate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion into every conversation. Here are the next steps we are taking:
We are expanding our current Diversity and Inclusion Project Team into a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. This Task Force will include students from all levels of involvement in BuckeyeThon, in addition to University faculty and staff. They will help create specific recommendations for changes that can be made to programming, processes and structures that BuckeyeThon can implement now, and going forward. As a collaboration between our Leadership and the Task Force, we will continue to look at our current areas for growth with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and utilize the pieces to map out a long-term plan for actionable initiatives.
We will improve and expand our Membership recruitment process, thinking more critically about how we can not only include, but also how we can support those from underrepresented populations within the BuckeyeThon community. We will find new ways to include all students at Ohio State as General Body Members, Team Captains, Morale Captains, and Team Members, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or any identity.
We will work with the Multicultural Center and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Ohio State to better incorporate bias training modules within our Leadership and Membership. We will continue to provide regular spaces to engage in further dialogue about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work within BuckeyeThon, in order to amplify the voices of all of our members. Additionally, we will continue to provide educational resources to our members, so we can seek to educate ourselves and be better equipped to make these changes.
We will expand our current Buckeye Funder campaign that financially supports students close to the $250 fundraising commitment, from funds raised by BuckeyeThon alumni. We will find new ways to increase funding for this initiative, in order to better support Team Members from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
BuckeyeThon’s mission is to raise funds and awareness for the Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It is important to note that Nationwide Children’s provides the highest quality care to every child who walks through its doors, for every reason, regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Health disparities disproportionately affect the Black community and we recognize the importance of bringing awareness and action to this issue. We will be working closely with the hospital to better understand the complexities of pediatric health equity and find out how we can help bridge those gaps for the patient families with cancer and blood disorders, such as sickle cell and hemophilia, and provide a platform for them to share their stories.
We will listen to our Black members and work to understand their feelings and pain in order to move forward with sustainable action. Our country is currently fighting for equality and justice for the Black community, and as an organization, BuckeyeThon stands in solidarity in this fight for necessary change against police brutality. Never has there been a greater need for collective power and we will work together now to eliminate the racism that stands in the way of equality.
If you have questions, comments and/or ideas about BuckeyeThon’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work, please email our executive director of diversity, equity, and inclusion Sonam at DEI.email@example.com.