Illinois (ECWd) -
The Illinois Department of Health and Family Services is now providing instruction on Unconscious Bias, Microaggression, Microinequities, Microinsults, Microassaults, and Microninvalidations.
In promotion of the training, the director made a statement in her email to HFS personnel that clearly failed to recognize our history. Such misinformation must be exposed so that future positions on such history are not biased inappropriately. Maybe that could be another slide in the presentation and called "Historybias".
Director Theresa Eagleson said in her email: "Last Thursday, I wrote an intermediate note to the team reflecting upon the unprecedented violent activity that took place in our nation’s Capitol – something never seen in the modern history of our country and done to undermine a process by which the very foundation of our democracy was built. "
History proves what happened in our Nations' Capital on January 6, 2021, was not unprecedented violent activity in our Nations Capital.
- Bomb Rocks US Capital - July 2, 1915
- On March 1, 1954, four Puerto Rican Americans fired guns in the House of Representatives, injuring five congressmen. They were demanding independence from the US.
- Bomb Explodes in Capital - March 1, 1971
- November 7, 1983, a bomb tore through the second floor of the Senate wing of the Capitol.
We believe knowing our history and the context of the time is important to help prevent future bias.
Director Eagleson also stated there was an insurrection at the US Capitol. To claim there was an insurrection appears to be a biased position. We say that because to date, we have not seen a single person convicted of insurrection and have yet to identify anyone actually criminally charged with such a crime. To prevent creating bias on the matter maybe we should wait and see what the Department of Justice actually prosecutes and obtains convictions on before making statements of fact.
While we disagree with some of Director Eagleson's claims in her email, we are confident those who know our history and take the time to educate themselves will find the truth.
Below are links to the Powerpoint presentations as well as the Directors' email to the "Team HFS. We understand that training is being mandated for all HFS employees.
Happy Monday Team HFS!
My apologies for the lateness of this note today, but I lacked time over the weekend to think or write as I had originally planned. Many of us were speaking to legislators and advocates about our hospital and health care transformation proposal, while also working with legislators and staff on the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus agenda on their proposal to advance equity in healthcare. To say the least, we are receiving a lot of feedback on how we, as a Department, relate to customers in communities all across the state.
We started sharing “Monday Morsels” in the middle of a pandemic so that we could strengthen our connection in the furtherance of our mission and purpose as a Department. Over the past several months, I’ve been sharing the results of our collective work on sharpening our vision for the future where we have honed in on equity as a foundation of our work. What’s going on around us is a key aspect of our work and touches each and every one of us in different ways.
I received a lot of feedback (directly and indirectly) on the note sent last week – a lot positive and some negative. One of my truths is that feedback of all kinds is good for numerous reasons, which is why I create opportunities to receive it at all levels of the department. Not only do those providing it have voice, but it challenges us to open our minds to expressions and feelings beyond our own, giving us an opportunity to try to understand where others are coming from. Diversity in perspectives makes us a stronger team and helps us develop better programs and services for our customers.
Some of the feedback that I received was centered around the adjectives used to describe mostly peaceful protests over the summer months and the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week. Thank you for comments. Your feedback is encouraged and welcomed, whether positive or negative.
Last Thursday, I wrote an intermediate note to the team reflecting upon the unprecedented violent activity that took place in our nation’s Capitol – something never seen in the modern history of our country and done to undermine a process by which the very foundation of our democracy was built. This is a moment in time that will be forever be embedded in our history and our minds.
My comments were not political, nor meant to be divisive. The reason I used the adjectives “black-led” and “white” as descriptors was last week were to intentionally call out the differences in police response between the events and toward the groups of people participating in each. And, to challenge us all to think about the biases that exist in our society that cause such differences.
We ALL have bias, as my note discussed, and we will be discussing more. Having these difficult conversations is potentially the ONLY thing that brings understanding, acceptance and true teamwork. It’s our awareness of those biases and what we do and how we treat others that we’re talking about here. In our new vision and values, we speak of EQUITY. A big part of what I think we need to do across all our programs, policies, and interactions is to review them to ensure that all those who have been marginalized are represented and that their voices are amplified and heard.
My hope is that everyone joins as we work tirelessly to champion equity, and to combat injustices across economic, political, and daily life that pose as barriers for so many. Together, let’s continue to do the work…. (in the words of Evonda Thomas-Smith) “until justice JUST IS”.
As we approach 2021 with new energy and hope we must assure our efforts to be an organization that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion. Next week, we will be talking more about that part of the vision and our bold goals in that arena.
In the spirit of togetherness,
Director IL Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services
Bloom Building - Springfield
(She, her, hers)