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ARPC creates safe space for honest conversations

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ARPC logo

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

In response to recent national events, Chief Master Sgt. Billi Baber, Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center’s command chief, and Senior Master Sgt. Tony Peel, HQ ARPC’s first sergeant, have hosted a pair of virtual safe-space conversations for members of the ARPC team.

“We have all experienced a trauma,” Baber said. “This is not a campaign to change anyone’s position. Everyone has a voice and we’re here to make sure everyone is heard with the respect and dignity each of us deserves.”

The video-based gatherings allowed members to have an honest conversation about what they have been feeling and what they have experienced in the past. The diverse group of participants took the time to share personal stories in order to paint a picture of what their experience with race has been.

“I had no idea so many of my ARPC colleagues had experienced racism up close,” said Mark Nelson, HQ ARPC historian.

“I’m glad we have this platform,” said Staff Sgt. Breshay Strong, HQ ARPC retirements technician. “These things are happening and we can’t turn a blind eye to it. I hope everyone is on the same page as far as knowing something is wrong and something needs to be fixed. I think with this generation we can make a change.”

The overall goal of the conversations was to provide a safe place for HQ ARPC members to share experiences and get a better understanding of how other people are feeling. The sessions are just the start of the center’s effort to create a culture shift within the organization.

“I have challenged the people of ARPC to think outside the box,” Baber said. “My vision is to make diversity and inclusion a part of our continuous professional development. Learning and understanding each other’s individual experiences on a continual basis will only help us be better supervisors, better leaders and better human beings.” #ReserveResilient #ReserveReform

(Brisbin is assigned to the HQ ARPC public affairs office.)