Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement from the Oklahoma Hall of Fame
July 1, 2021
After deep reflection on our state’s history, and this 93-year-old organization, we believe it is time to make a radical change in how we honor all Oklahomans. It is time to end the systemic racism that has marginalized our citizens and celebrate great leaders of all races, cultures, and ethnicities. The Oklahoma Hall of Fame believes there are no limits to what we can all achieve, and we are committing to lifting all our citizens. As this organization conducts internal and external process evaluation and program expansion to ensure we include persons of color in our state’s overall story, we will share information and invite others to join our efforts.
Each of us plays a meaningful role in creating change, and we will be required to step out of a comfort zone that has overtly and covertly produced inequality, inequity, and injustice for years.
We realize retaining the designation of Oklahoma’s Highest Honor depends on our ability to embrace the truth about our 93-year history, even the parts that are hard to accept. The road to diversity, equity, and inclusion won’t be easy or comfortable, but it is necessary. We are committed to participating in and facilitating dialogue to enact change at Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the communities it touches. We will expand our programs to focus on creating a legacy that is representative of all Oklahomans.
Future generations of Oklahoma need to understand that celebrating diversity leads to a prosperous future full of opportunity and growth. Standing together with dignity, humility, and an overwhelming commitment to justice and truth will unite us as Oklahomans. We stand with people of all color across this great state and support the people committed to enacting positive change in every Oklahoma community. We condemn the systemic racism that limits the dreams and aspirations of all Oklahomans. By demanding equity and justice as a community, we can start down the road of meaningful change.
This ongoing commitment to change includes the following as first steps:
- We have retained a diversity and inclusion expert’s services to guide us through reflective and meaningful conversations about equitable change in our organization’s culture.
- We are committed to expanding our education and training to understand the community’s needs better and develop diversity and inclusion initiatives that align with best practices.
- We will be reviewing all processes and policies as we move forward so we can better serve our state.
We admit we do not have all the answers, we have a lot to learn, and we are committed to listening. We acknowledge there is a lot of difficult and important work to do, and it is up to us to ensure our words and actions demonstrate our commitment to our values.
Shannon L. Rich, President & CEO
Bruce T. Benbrook, Chairman 2020-2021