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Unit sets up book club to discuss diversity, inclusion

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Greg Erwin
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – Words are the cornerstone of all languages. Individually, they lack focus and strength, but put them together and they become bigger than themselves. The same concept can be used for individuals, and that is what the 435th Supply Chain Operations Squadron has discovered through a book club.

Founded by Senior Airman Mikayla Hill, 435th SCOS general stock funds manager, the main focus was to allow a place for Airmen of all ranks to come together to discuss issues of diversity and inclusion without fear of retribution.

“We are in a time where diversity and inclusion is in the fore front [of conversation],” said Hill. “In order to make the needed changes, we as leaders, have to be willing to get in there and rumble with vulnerability.”

The group started with the book “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown after Hill watched the conversation between former Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright and Brown on Wright’s Facebook page. The book was authored with the intent to help organizations to allow vulnerability, which lead to change and improvement. With all things, attempting to get that change to happen has not been without challenges.

“The biggest obstacle has been trying to convince people that this is a genuine attempt to bring us all together in an environment where we can all speak freely without fear of offending others,” said Hill.

While the club is still in its infancy, its impact has been felt within those who have attended.

“Often times, people become convinced that their story may not be received as worthy, valuable, important or life-changing,” said Tech. Sgt. Kweshi Raymond, 436th Supply Chain Operations C-130 sustainment Squadron NCO in charge. “This forum is a place of safety when expressing vulnerability and you leave different than when you enter – for the better.”

The group has set forth rules as their guiding principles for an environment to discuss change. Most notable of those rules is a “zone of no judgement,” which allows members to truly open up and get to know each other throughout the process.

Hill said, “The biggest eye opener since starting the book club and reading ‘Dare to Lead’ is learning the true meaning of vulnerability. Understanding that vulnerability is not a weakness, but is a strength that each leader should feel comfortable with displaying.”

For anyone wanting to attend, the club is all-inclusive. Rank, race, gender, age nor orientation matters when it comes to a requirement to join – just an open mind and a willingness to listen and learn.

“Let’s share our experiences, grow together, and work on making our organization and Air Force a better place – for everyone,” added Hill.

For more information, email Hill at mikayla.hill@us.af.mil for an updated meeting schedule and location for the book club.