Devil Raider leadership seeks to improve diversity, inclusion

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sarah Brice
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

With mounting tensions in today's political climate, leadership within the 621st Contingency Response Wing are taking extra measures to understand and help improve the workplace environment for their Airmen.


One such initiative invited Risha Grant, international motivational speaker, to discuss the hot topic of diversity and race in the workplace with command teams from the 621st CRW at the headquarters building, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Leaders on both the East and West Coast participated in the event in person or via video teleconference.

“Our roundtable discussion with Ms. Grant today was just one step of many in the right direction for our leadership teams’ quest to build and foster a culture rife with diversity and inclusion,” said Chief Master Sgt. Tony Jenkins, 621st CRW command chief.


The Air Force is working on diversity and inclusion initiatives, and discussions like these are a step toward those goals.


“Talking to leadership is where it's at with diversity and inclusion policy because the people in entry level and up are looking to you to guide them in this journey,” said Grant.


Grant is known as a renowned diversity, inclusion and bias expert. She is a divorced African-American bisexual black woman who is a small business owner and basketball coach. At the leadership meeting, she explained that bias is a roadblock to acceptance and inclusion.


“I have learned how to separate unconscious bias from facts,” said Grant. “We go through life having these feelings about people who have never done anything to us.”


During the discussion, leaders opened up about their own experiences with and thoughts on unconscious bias as well as their concerns about the future of the Air Force. Many expressed their hopes that conversations like this will help drive a culture of belonging and inclusivity within their units.


“Our leadership teams care deeply about their Airmen,” said Jenkins. “We need to keep these conversations going so that hopefully, one day, all our Airmen feel valued, comfortable, and connected in an environment without any fear of bias or discrimination.”