Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity

Safe Homes commits to being allies for restorative justice and racial equity.   We have supported LGBTQIA+ youth of all races in finding their truth and their voice for decades. Standing together we bring strength and justice and hope for all.   

Official Statement from Kenneth J. Bates President & Chief Executive Officer of Open Sky Community Services

June 17, 2020

As you know, I have been actively connecting with our employees since the beginning of the uprising that was sparked by the murder of George Floyd by police. Many of you have shared with me your personal reflections and the impact this has had on your family, friends and your Open Sky co-workers. I have been especially touched by the concerns shared with me about how this has impacted your children and grandchildren. It is such a tragedy. Many of you have also shared a range of ideas regarding how Open Sky can and should take action in our stand against racism. I’d like to share with you some of my preliminary thoughts on this.

At this point in time we remain in listening and learning mode: listening to the impact this has had on people, seeing what we can learn, and all while providing meaningful support to people all across our organization. The specific ideas shared by people thus far have been quite thoughtful, instructive and proactive. However, right now we are not creating an action plan or “to do list”, rather we are creating the space for people to share their reflections. Whatever action we decide to take it is very important that it be taken within a thoughtful and well managed framework.

With this in mind, a few things I believe will help us now include finding a consultant with deep knowledge, experience and expert facilitation skills who will help us create an overall framework and provide a thorough organizational assessment. I believe this assessment will be instructive and will help us determine what steps we need to take at Open Sky.

It is imperative that we be truly open and serious about creating positive change. That is why I have decided to lead this initiative for us. And, as we are at the beginning of a process, I am looking for some additional assistance from you to help think this through. I have decided to coordinate and lead a feedback group including people from all levels of the organization that will meet a few times over the next several weeks. As we move forward we will all be in this together and we will need to learn from one another and support one another.


Human Rights Campaign Resources

https://centerforblackequity.org/  (for LGBTQ+ people of color)


Human Rights Campaign Foundation Overview

Equality Magazine

At the Intersection: Race, Sexuality and Gender

Coming Out Guide for African Americans

Transgender Visibility Guide

What Do I Do? A Handbook to Understanding Health & HIV

A Christian Conversation Guide: Creating Safe and Inclusive Spaces for People who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender

Brave Spaces: Perspectives on Faith & LGBTQ Justice

Historically Black Colleges & Universities Project

Additional Resources

Black Youth Project 100

Center for Black Equality

Color of Change

Hispanic Black Gay Coalition

National Black Justice Coalition


Shades is dedicated to enriching the lives of LGBTQ+ people of color in Worcester and throughout central Massachusetts. Our aim is to reflect, amplify, and center QTPOC voices in organizing and facilitating community spaces.


This resource is specific to the experiences of LGBTQ people living in the United States who identify as African American. For more on the experiences of Black LGBTQ people living outside of the U.S., click here.