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Change through diversity, inclusion: Little Rock AFB establishes Airmen’s forum

Men and women in conference room sitting around a table.

Col. John Schutte, 19th Airlift Wing commander, center, addresses Airmen at the first official Diversity and Inclusion Airmen’s Forum Charter at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Oct. 6, 2020. The forum is composed of Airmen between the ranks of E-2 to E-9, O-1 to O-4, and various levels of Department of Defense civilians in order to provide a well-rounded and full-spectrum experience, both personally and professionally. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Miller)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AFNS) --

Little Rock Air Force Base is committed to delivering a diverse workforce that embraces a variety of perspectives and recognizes the talents of all of its Airmen. In direct support of this, the base has established a Diversity and Inclusion Airmen’s Forum.

The mission of the forum is to assemble a council of Airmen from diverse ranks, backgrounds and communities, focused on forging organizational cultures in which trust, empowerment and accountability is melded with the warrior ethos; where diversity is valued as a personnel readiness multiplier and each individual has the opportunity to exert their maximum potential to help one another.

“The Diversity and Inclusion Airmen’s Forum is an awesome initiative that gives folks the opportunity to have some hard-hitting and sometimes difficult conversations in a safe and controlled environment,” said Tech. Sgt. Langston Anthony, the forum’s co-chairperson. “The forum removes any barriers or obstacles from Airmen having the opportunity to weigh in on decisions made at the base level with relation to diversity and inclusion.”

The 19th and 314th Airlift Wing command chiefs assisted the forum by providing guidance and mentorship, as well as helping facilitate the forum’s goals as they move forward.

“This is about leveraging unique strengths, perspectives and experiences to help solve complex issues,: said Chief Master Sgt. Steven Hart, 19th AW command chief. “The collective intelligence of these professionals of varying backgrounds will inherently bring out new and innovative ideas, which is vitally important to our mission.”

This forum is currently composed of Airmen between the ranks of E-2 to E-9, O-1 to O-4, and various levels of Defense Department civilians to provide a well-rounded and full-spectrum of experience, both personally and professionally.

“In order to create change, our first step is to look at ourselves to see where we can change our own mindset and perspective,” said Airman 1st Class Hajjii Frederick, Diversity and Inclusion Forum co-chairperson. “The challenge is a great one, but I believe no matter what my rank is, I bring a lot of personal experience to the table.”

The vision of the forum is to foster an inclusive environment where individuals are respected and valued for their differences and abilities, that is not hindered by prejudicial barriers, stereotypes or restrictions.

“It is an honor to be a part of this,” said Chief Master Sgt. John Chilcote, 314th AW command chief. “We have an opportunity to make meaningful changes through the recommendations provided to us from the forum.”

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