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A Message from Commissioner Dorantes….

We are in the last day of PRIDE month where we experienced open expressions of support, acceptance and strength for and with the LGBTQ+ community.  We all know that hasn't always been the case. Cultural humility is one construct for understanding and developing a process-oriented approach to competency. Hook, Davis, Owen, Worthington and Utsey (2013) conceptualize cultural humility as the “ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented (or open to the other) in relation to aspects of cultural identity that are most important to the [person]” (p. 2).

Three factors guide a sojourner toward cultural humility. The first aspect is a lifelong commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique (Tervalon & Murray-Garcia, 1998). Underlying this piece is the knowledge that we are never finished — we never arrive at a point where we are done learning. Therefore, we must be humble and flexible, bold enough to look at ourselves critically and desire to learn more. When we do not know something, are we able to say that we do not know? Willingness to act on the acknowledgement that we have not and will not arrive at a finish line is integral to this aspect of cultural humility as well. Understanding is only as powerful as the action that follows.

The second feature of cultural humility is a desire to fix power imbalances where none ought to exist (Tervalon & Murray-Garcia, 1998). Recognizing that each person brings something different to the proverbial table of life helps us see the value of each person. When practitioners interview clients, the client is the expert on his or her own life, symptoms and strength... Finally, cultural humility includes aspiring to develop partnerships with people and groups who advocate for others (Tervalon & Murray-Garcia, 1998DCF Logo). Though individuals can create positive change, communities and groups can also have a profound impact on systems. We cannot individually commit to self-evaluation and fixing power imbalances without advocating within the larger organizations in which we participate. Cultural humility, by definition, is larger than our individual selves — we must advocate for it systemically.   https://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/newsletter/2013/08/cultural-humility

In this special edition of  "Spotlight on What's Rights" we are highlighting extraordinary individuals who were willing to tell us their story so that we as a system can evolve in our relationships with others in our workforce and in understanding of the children, youth and families we serve.

We are so thankful to Kris Robles for allowing us to understand his personal journey. To Robin McHalen for her decades of advocacy resulting in Connecticut truly becoming a leader nationally for the supports and programs we offer those in the LGBTQ+ community. 

On the 5-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling which guaranteed the rights of gay and lesbian individuals to marry, we spoke to Brian and Wil. They gave voice to their uncertainty, as a gay couple, if they would be approved to adopt. Taking a risk after receiving well-timed encouragement, they entered into the licensing process. The children soon followed.

Imagine the lives of little Harper and Harlow without them???

Imagine Brian and Wil's lives without Harper and Harlow???

Join me in acknowledging PRIDE month, those who are living their true authentic self and celebrating the positive impact our system can have on others when we evolve-- listen and alter our actions towards one another.