Unfortunately, like the rest of the country, Riverside has recently seen an uptick in incidents of intolerant language based on race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
Riverside is an inclusive community, guided by a robust statement of Mutual Respect and Responsibility that is posted at all locations, and provides staff training in harassment prevention. However, there was a realization that Riverside had to do more.
“We want to give a clear message to the individuals we serve, and the staff we employ, that hate speech is not welcomed here. The Hate Has No Home Here project seemed like a perfect fit for what we are trying to accomplish,” said Don Hughes, Vice President of Community Living Services, the division where Riverside has begun to roll out the project.
Hate Has No Home Here is a national project that “seeks to declare neighborhood residences, businesses, and places of community free from hate speech and behavior, providing safe places for conversation, work, learning, and living.” Communities across the country have embraced the movement, with colorful Hate Has No Home Here signs and flyers appearing in storefronts and on lawns.
“At Riverside, we create an environment of acceptance, where we all respect and value each other no matter their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or real or perceived differences,” said Marsha Medalie, Executive Vice President/COO at Riverside. “We need to reinforce that hateful language or behavior is not accepted here. We also need to stress that employees should report any incidents, managers should intercede if they observe intolerant behavior, and everyone should stand up for each other and feel comfortable reporting on behalf of one another.”
As we reinforce that intolerant actions and language are not accepted at Riverside, our goal is for people in the Riverside community to feel more comfortable bringing issues forward. We can then take the appropriate action to respond.
“The goal is for this message of safety and tolerance to become part of the fabric of Riverside,” said Medalie. “We want everyone – staff, families, and people served – to feel that Riverside is a welcoming place.”