Dear Emerging Leaders,
Welcome to Seattle! We are so excited to have you at this inaugural Minority Veterans of America Emerging Leader Retreat. Never did I think, just two years ago when we were just starting out, that this would be where we are as an organization and community today. At this time two years ago, I felt a sense of despair after feeling like there was no place in the veteran community that would let me be a part, just the way that I am. No more, no less.
As we all know, the answer was that there was no place. In response, we came together and did what we do best. We rolled up our sleeves and go to work. We built something.
That’s our story. This retreat and every one of you are the manifestation of our community’s ability to unite and rise up. We are resilient, determined, and damn good leaders. We have proven we are capable of leading this community with a message of radical inclusion, in the hopes of building a brighter future for us all.
This retreat will be fun, challenging, and, with any luck, we will all leave here stronger and recharged, ready to tackle the challenges ahead of us. If at any point, you have questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to tell me or one of your leaders so we can address it immediately.
Please approach this weekend with a growth mindset and bring everything you have to each session. What we each walk away with from this weekend will be a direct result of what each of us puts into it. I am here to learn from each of you and I’m so excited to be a part.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a part of this retreat and for all of the work leadership that each of you has put forward in this community. Each of you challenges what it means to be a veteran. MVA would not be here without each and every one of you.
Cheers to a beautiful three days,
Minority Veterans of America
Emerging Leader Retreat Community Agreements
All ELR participants and facilitators have the right to:
- Be treated with respect and dignity by all ELR participants and facilitators.
- Not be discriminated against based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, political affiliation, veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, or socio-economic status.
- Not be harassed, verbally or physically, in any manner, by any ELR participants and facilitators, either in person or through online/digital mediums.
- Exist in ELR and MVA spaces (online or in person) free of sexual/romantic advances or harassment by any ELR participants and facilitators.
- Make their preferred name/s and pronouns known and to be addressed accordingly.
- Make an anonymous grievance against any ELR participants and facilitators for violation of these community guidelines, and for that grievance to be fully considered and addressed through an accountable and transparent process.
All MVA members have the responsibility to:
- Treat all ELR participants and facilitators with respect and recognition of their dignity.
- Not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, political affiliation, veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, or socio-economic status.
- Not verbally or physically harass, shame, or belittle any ELR participants and facilitators, either in person or through online/digital mediums.
- Not make sexual/romantic advances toward any ELR participants and facilitators while in ELR or MVA spaces (online or in person).
- Not challenge or qualify the identities of other ELR participants and facilitators.
- Address others by their preferred name/s and pronouns.
- When engaging in discussion, ELR participants and facilitators are expected to:
a. Enter all conversation intentionally and in good faith.
b. Expect and accept discomfort.
c. Listen actively for understanding and ask honest questions.
d. Assume positive intentions of the group and our members and center on MVA’s mission, vision, and values as a point of reference.
e. Acknowledge intent when addressing impact.
f. Speak to share authentic ideas, thoughts, and experiences, not to dismiss, degrade, or compete with those of others.
g. When offering a differing opinion, do so respectfully and only after allowing the other speaker to fully articulate their position and reasoning, affording their perspective the consideration we all deserve.