Moody’s Diversity, Inclusion Council effects change

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jessica Smith-McMahan
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

In recent years, the Air Force stood up an Office of Diversity and Inclusion in an effort to identify and fix policies and procedures that may have adverse impacts on underrepresented individuals. Now, Moody is striving to continue doing the same thing on a more intimate scale.

Team Moody’s Diversity and Inclusion Council comprises a group of individuals that have been selected to start the process for the base, encompassing all ranks and races, from non-commissioned officers to command-grade officers and civilians.

“In order for us to really look at a process of change, you have to include everyone,” said Phaydra Crews, 23rd Wing community support and resiliency coordinator. “We want to be better at making sure everyone feels like they have a voice no matter what.”

The council aims to make sure everyone is heard by having difficult yet constructive discussions.

“A lot of people think diversity and inclusion is just about race but it’s more than that,” Crews said. “It’s about age, it’s about disability, it’s about sexuality … there’s many ways people can feel excluded. Our team is trying to look into how we break down those barriers so we can start having uncomfortable conversations – uncomfortable conversations lead to change.”

Each quarter, the council plans to engage and educate a different group – whether it be first sergeants or commanders – dedicating their efforts to hone in on issues, experiences and impacts specific to Team Moody. Getting even the youngest of Airmen involved in the conversations enables them to go back into their squadrons feeling more confident and equipped to facilitate authentic dialogue. 

“The Diversity and Inclusion Council helps Moody Air Force Base maintain focus on creating positive change and provides an opportunity for younger Airmen to steer the culture of this base and our Air Force,” said Col. Russ Cook, 23rd Wing commander.

To influence the culture, the community as a whole, needs to acknowledge that there’s room for growth, Crews said.

“What we’ve found is that there are opportunities on Moody to provide more of an inclusive work environment – when there’s an opportunity for us to do better – we should do better,” she said. “Whether it’s racism, bullying or just a lack of knowledge of other people’s culture, when you talk about diversity and inclusion it’s really just giving people the opportunity to learn more about each other in a safe space.”

While one of the council’s goals is to use leadership to act and follow through on improvement for issues brought to light – in order for effective change, everyone needs to be committed to the change, with the council acting as the catalyst.

“I firmly believe that it’s important for the military members who serve to reflect the people and values of the nation they defend,” Cook said. “We need warfighters – a healthy culture of diversity and inclusion ensures access to the largest possible pool of Americans who will have an opportunity to provide their full contribution to defending this country.”