We’re proud to have recently appointed our first Diversity and Inclusion Officer.
The new role aims to support our organisation and to be more inclusive of and culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, LGBTIQA+ individuals, people with a disability and people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds.
Savannah West comes to the role fresh from working in case management supporting young people from Wodonga Youth Refuge and in Out of Home Care.
Savannah has strong experience advocating for diverse communities and has long been an advocate for young LGBTIQA+ people.
Her work in this area was recognised when she was named Wodonga’s Youth Ambassador at the 2019 Red Carpet Awards. She also received the Red Carpet Individual Community Service award for her work as the lead organiser at the inaugural Rainbow Ball, which attracted more than 200 local LGBTIQA+ young people.
The Diversity and inclusion role sits within our new Quality team that oversees our quality service provision, making sure it is of the highest standard and that Junction uses best practice.
Quality Manager Peter Graves says the new Diversity and Inclusion role is an exciting opportunity for our organisation.
“It’s gone from being an organisational ideal to something tangible and accountable that means being inclusive of and respecting the rights of all clients regardless of their background culture or identity,” Peter says.
Last year, our organisation began our journey towards Rainbow Tick accreditation, which is a national accreditation program for organisations that are committed to safe and inclusive practice, and service delivery for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex, Queer and Asexual (LGBTIQA+) people.
As the new Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Savannah says she looks forward to creating new inclusive practices and connecting with other local agencies to work together and ensure consultation so that communities are put at the centre of self-determination.
“From the work I have done volunteering I’ve seen the barriers – physical and mental – that some young people face. It’s important as an organisation for us to not further oppress people and that we are a safe and inclusive environment for everyone,” she says.
While focussed on clients, Savannah’s role is also about staff. “It’s not up to the individual to educate their worker or up to staff to educate their co-workers on their sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, intersex status, cultural identity,” she says.