Reinvigorating Diversity and Inclusion-Council holds first open meeting since before the COVID pandemic

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Tiffany Lundberg
  • 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office

The Diversity and Inclusion Council held its first open meeting with members of the 302nd Airlift Wing since before the COVID pandemic, May 14th, at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado.  

Col. Xaviera Slocum, 302nd Airlift Wing vice commander and D&I council chair, led the conversation with several members from across the wing who participated in the open meeting to brainstorm ideas to reinvigorate the program. Some ideas that were presented included book clubs, panels and guest speakers.

“When we talk about D&I we are not just talking about race and gender, we are talking about diversity of thought, diversity of background, and diversity of experience,” said Slocum. “We all bring different perspectives here which makes us the mighty 302nd that we are, but how do we bolster that and make it even better.”

Air Force Instruction 36-7001 defines diversity to include personal life experiences, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, cultural knowledge, educational background, work experience, language abilities, physical abilities, philosophical and spiritual perspectives, age, race, ethnicity and gender. Inclusion also creates a culture where everyone is free to contribute to the mission without barriers to their service.

The mission and purpose of the 302 AW D&I is to attract, develop and retain diverse Air Force members by creating a culture of inclusion, acceptance and appreciation for everyone.

“I want to make sure everybody has their voices heard and they can feel 100% included by having a safe space here for all of us,” said Slocum. “I want your ideas on what we can do because the world is our oyster and just having all the different perspectives here in the room is going to be helpful to us.”

During the meeting, Maj. Kassie Montalvo, 302nd Force Support Squadron director of operations and D&I implementer, also encouraged everyone in the wing to bring their ideas forward because the program is for the wing.

“Let’s take this opportunity to make this program awesome,” said Montalvo. “We have the flexibility to make it what we want it to be.”

At the end of the meeting Slocum asked everyone to explain why they joined the military and why they continue to serve. As Air Force reservists, members not only contribute their military technical skills to the mission but also their experiences from their civilian careers and personal lives.

“This was very valuable and shows how we are all diverse and every one of us has had a different experience and I think it’s amazing that we bring so much to the 302nd,” said Slocum. “I’m excited to get to work with you and for what we are going to do for the 302nd together, with respect to diversity and inclusion.”