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Diversity and Inclusion


Welcome to the Department of Corrections Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  Diversity recognizes and values our individual differences and Inclusion brings us together to become a high performing, cohesive group.  The Department knows that a fully engaged and empowered workforce is more productive, creative, and satisfied.  To that end, the Department is committed to embracing diversity and enhancing inclusion.
In 2012 Director Colette Peters appointed Gary Sims as the Administrator of Diversity and Inclusion.  Under Mr. Sims’ leadership, the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council was formed.  The council, together with Mr. Sims, combines a wide variety of knowledge, experience, and perspectives into one dedicated taskforce.  From curriculum advisement and development to utilizing best practices in the creation of brand new diversity initiatives, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is committed to the Department’s most valuable resource: our staff.



​From the Governor's Office

The Governor of the State of Oregon is committed to the right of all persons to work and advance on the basis of merit, ability, and potential. The Governor has delegated authority to the Director of the Affirmative Action Office to follow ORS 243.315. The Director will assist in the implementation and monitor affirmative action plans in all state agencies. This will foster work environments that recruit, retain and promote employees who represent the broadest possible spectrum of society, which includes women, minorities, and people with disabilities.




Governor John Kitzhaber
Governor's Newsletter 10-04-2013.pdf The Governor’s Affirmative Action Office is designed to:
  1. Reaffirm the state's policy of nondiscrimination and affirmative action;
  2. Identify state agencies' goals and action plans for achieving goals for women, racial/ethnic group members, and persons with disabilities;
  3. Provide program specifics for promoting and assuring equal employment opportunity;
  4. Communicate the Governor’s commitment to equal employment opportunity and affirmative action principles; and
  5. Demonstrate the continued “good faith” efforts of the State of Oregon.
  6. Act as a consultant and advisor to agencies to assists them in meeting their goals and action plans.

Frank Garcia

State of Oregon Affirmative Action Office



Governor's Newsletter 1-10-2014.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 12-20-2013.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 11-08-2013.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 10-18-2013.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 10-04-2013.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 9-20-2013.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 8-23-2013.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 8-09-2013.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 7-26-2013.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 7-12-2013.pdf


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From the Director's Office


Colette Peters, ODOC Director​

"It is known that diversity and inclusion help drive performance, productivity, and mission success.  Led by Gary Sims, Administrator of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Department of Corrections is developing a strategic plan along with our CORE initiative that will help create an organizational culture that respects and values diversity.  This plan recognizes that diversity and inclusion are critical to the Department’s continued success.
The Department of Corrections is committed to helping our staff achieve their full potential.  It is through our staff that we are able to provide the citizens of Oregon the highest levels of customer service.
Our goal is to create a climate of inclusion where mutual respect and understanding enable collaboration and problem solving for staff at all levels and where individuals are valued for their unique contributions.  I envision our workforce populated by skilled and dedicated staff members who reflect all the best characteristics of Oregon’s talented and diverse population."
                 Colette Peters, ODOC Director
Mitch Morrow, ODOC Deputy Director

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Department of Corrections Diversity and Inclusion Staff


Gary Sims, MBA, MA, M.Div
Diversity and Inclusion Administrator
2575 Center St NE
Salem OR 97301
(503) 945-9029

Erin Solomon, BS, MS, Psychology
Diversity and Inclusion Executive Assistant
2575 Center St NE
Salem OR 97301
(503) 947-9953
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You may direct complaints and concerns regarding diversity, inclusion and cultural competency to Gary Sims, Diversity and Inclusion Administrator. From there, we will notify Human Resources of the complaint so that a thorough investigation may be conducted. The Diversity and Inclusion team will walk you through the process and track the complaint with you as it progresses and concludes.



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Diversity Holidays and Events


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This observance was launched in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October as "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1998, the week was extended to a month and renamed. The annual event draws attention to employment barriers that still need to be addressed.

October is also LGBT History Month, a U.S. observance started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history and the history of the gay rights movement.

Second Monday in October is National Indigenous People’s Day, which recognizes 500 years of resistance and the continued existence of North American Indigenous people. This is celebrated in lieu of Columbus Day.


National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National LGBT History Month


November is National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans.
November 12 is Veterans Day, an annual U.S. federal holiday honoring military veterans. The date is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world and commemorates the ending of the first World War in 1918.
November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance, established in 1998 to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia and raise awareness of the continued violence endured by the transgender community.
November 27 (sunset) – December 5 is Hanukkah (Chanukah). Also known as the Festival of Lights, it is an eight-day Jewish holiday recognizing the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It is observed by lighting candles on a Menorah—one for each day of the festival.
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Question and Answer

Q. What is Diversity and Inclusion?
Diversity and Inclusion: Each person has an inherent need to be valued as an individual and to feel part of a cohesive group.
  • Diversity is understanding and valuing the range and variety of characteristics that define individuals.
  • Inclusion is being a part of a high performance team that values and encourages the contribution of all individuals.


Q. What is Cultural Competency?

Cultural Competency: The ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures and backgrounds.

Q. How do we categorize ethnic groups?
The Governor's Affirmative Action office categorizes ethnic groups in this way: 

  • American Indian or Alaskan Native: a person with origins in any of the original peoples of North America through tribal affiliation or community recognition.
  • Asian or Pacific Islanders: a person with origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, Hawaiian Native, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. This area includes, for example, China, Japan, the Philippine Republic, and Samoa.
  • Black/African American (not of Hispanic Origin): a person with origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa who is also not of Hispanic origin.
  • Caucasian (includes European American and Arab American: a person with origins of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East who is not of Hispanic origin.
  • Hispanic: a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. Only those persons from Central and South America countries who are of Spanish origin, descent, or culture should be included in this category. Persons from Brazil, Guyana, Surinam, or Trinidad, for example, would be classified according to their race and would not necessarily be included in the Hispanic category. In addition, the category does not include persons from Portugal who should be classified according to race. 
Ultimately, the choice of which group a person belongs to depends on which group the individual identifies themselves with.
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Articles of Interest


Cultural Dimensions.pdf


Culture Card: A Guide to Build Awareness: American Indian and Alaska Native:

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