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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 2013 Director Colette S. Peters appointed Gary Sims as the Administrator of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Under Mr. Sims’ leadership the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council was formed. The council 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 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 bases 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 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

The Governor's Affirmative Action office is designed to:

  1. Reaffirm the state's policy on nondiscrimination and affirmative action;
  2. Identify state agencies' goals and affirmative 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;
  5. Demonstrate the continued "good faith" efforts of the state of Oregon; and
  6. Act as a consultant and advisor to the agencies to assist them in meeting their goals and action plans.                                                                 Frank Garcia

                                                                     State of Oregon Affirmative Action Director



Governor's Newsletter 4-01-2014.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 3-17-2014.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 2-27-2014.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 2-10-2014.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 1-24-2014.pdf

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

From the Director's Office


A Message from the 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

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, MS Psychology

Diversity and Inclusion Executive Support

2575 Center St NE

Salem OR 97301

(503) 947-9953






 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 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.

Diversity Holidays and Events
is Women’s History Month. Started in 1987, Women’s History Month recognizes all women for their valuable contributions to history and society.
March is also National Mental Retardation Awareness Month, which was established to increase awareness and understanding of issues affecting people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities.
March 8 is International Women’s Day. First observed in 1911 in Germany, it has now become a major global celebration honoring women’s economic, political, and social achievements.
March 13 – April 15 is Deaf History Month. This observance celebrates key events in deaf history, including the founding of Gallaudet University and the American School for the Deaf.



April is Celebrate Diversity Month. Started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all.

April is also Autism Awareness Month, established to raise awareness about the developmental disorder that affects children's normal development of social and communication skills.

April 14 to April 22 is Passover, a Jewish holiday celebrated each spring in rememberance of the Jews' deliverance out of slavery in Egypt in 1300 B.C.

April 20 is Easter, a holiday celebrated by Christians to recognize Jesus' return from the dead after he was crucified.  It is considered to be the most important Christian holiday.


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 encourges the contribution of all individuals.



Q. What is cultural competency?

Cultural competency is 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 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 Islander: a person with origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southwest 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 African who are not also Hispanic.


  • Caucasian (Includes European American and Arab Americans): a person with origins in the original peoples of Europe, North African or the middle East who is not of Hispanic origin.


  • Hispanic: a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central of South America, or other Spanish culture 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, Guiana, 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 person 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 him or herself with.

Articles of Interest


Harvard Implicit Test: Looking for Hidden Biases

Look to see what biases you have for or against different groups of people.

Harvard Implicit Test



Understanding workplace values around the world:

Cultural Dimensions.pdf

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

Culture Card