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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, minories
                                                                      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 8-05-2014.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 7-22-2014.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 7-08-2014.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 6-24-2014.pdf

Governor's Newsletter 6-11-2014.pdf


Upcoming Events, Activities, and Festivals around the State

The Oceans Connect Us, Navigating Micronesian Culture
Presented by the Salem Multicultural Institute
Open daily Monday - Friday 10am-2pm at the World Beat Gallery
Salem, Oregon

4th Annual Taste of Micronesia Festival

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Salem, Oregon

For more information, contact:

Jackie Leung: 626-848-8619



Mike Borong



Oregon Diversity Conference

Tuesday, Sept. 16th and Wednesday, Sept, 17th, 2014

Salem, Oregon



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



“The bottom line is that our nation and our workforce are becoming increasingly diverse.  The Department of Corrections is taking the initiative to seize this opportunity and maximize the vast potential diversity brings us.  Diversity and inclusion allows our Department to be strong yet flexible; able to grow and advance.  This ability to grow and take advantage of the many different perspectives, ideas, and talent our employees possess is vital to bringing best practices to our operations. 

Recognizing, valuing, and affirming diversity directly relates to the success of our department and enhances morale.  Whether a new recruit or senior staff, we want employees at all levels of the agency to feel involved, acknowledged, and engaged.  We strive to have a workforce that maintains enjoyment and enthusiasm for a career with the Department of Corrections from recruitment to retirement.  The Department takes pride in fostering an atmosphere where our employees feel they have made the right decision in becoming part of the organization.
The Department of Correction’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion is nothing less than a commitment to excellence.”

Mitch Morrow, ODOC Deputy Director



Department of Corrections Diversity and Inclusion Staff






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





Michele Malick

Diversity and Inclusion Executive Support Specialist

2575 Center St NE

Salem OR 97301

(503) 947-9953





Representing diverse locations and and varied workforce classifications, the members of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council serve on a voluntary basis. 


Council members include:

Claudia Arndt, Office Specialist Salem, OR

Patricia Solomon, Admin. Specialist Salem, OR

Carla Padilla, Asst. Sup. Correctional Rehabilitation Salem, OR

Patrick Vance,  CTRS Health Services, Pharmacy Salem, OR



Joan Barton, CTRS Population Managment

Salem, OR


Nichole Brown, Programs and Volunteer Admin.
Salem, OR




Cecil Cross, Correctional Counselor

Ontario, OR






Kelly Davidson, Correctional Counselor

Salem, OR





Sandy Glassy, Correctional Lieutenant

Ontario, OR





Jeanine Hohn, PDU 

Salem, OR





Nancy Howton, Offender Mgnmt. and Rehab. Services

Salem, OR





Gerald Long, Asst. Sup.

Salem, OR





 Linn Menzie, BHS Manager

 Portland, OR








Jennifer Peel, Food Srvs. Manager

Lakeview, OR






Tyler Phelps, Asst. Phys. Plant Mnger 

Pendleton, OR





Kelly Raths, Inmate and Community Advoc. Admin. 

Salem, OR 






Tonia Ridley, Asst. Sup.  

Umatilla, OR 






 Sue Robson, Pathfinders of Oregon

 Wilsonville, OR






Gilberto Rodriguez, Correctional Captain 

Ontario, OR





Sara Serrano, OCE General Manager

Region 4, OR





Clyde Skipper, Correctional Sergeant

Salem, OR






 Nina Sobotta, Minority Affairs






 Lavon StarrMeyers, Volunteer Services

 Umatilla, OR






Laura Sterling, Correctional Lieutenant 

Lakeview, OR










 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.

Please contact:
Gary Sims, Diversity and Inclusion Administrator
2575 Center St. NE
Salem, OR 97301
Awareness Months and Diversity Holidays
July 4th is Independence Day in America. 
On July 9, the Martyrdom of the Bab, Baha'is observe the anniversary of the Bab's execution in Tabriz, Iran, in 1850.
July 11 is World Population Day, an observance established in 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme. The annual event is designed to raise awareness of global population issues.
July 13 is Asala–Dharma Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the start of the Buddha’s teaching.
July 23 is the birthday of Haile Selassie I, the Emperor of Ethiopia, who the Rastafarians consider to be God and their Savior.
July 26 is Disability Independence Day, which marks the anniversary of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
July 29 is Eid al Fitr, the Muslim celebration commemorating the ending of Ramadan. It is a festival of thanksgiving to Allah for enjoying the month of Ramadan. It involves wearing one's finest clothing, saying prayers, and nurturing understanding of other religions.
Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) provides an opportunity to highlight the need for improving national immunization coverage levels. Activities focus on encouraging all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer helpful toolkits that can be found at:http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam.html
August 4 (sunset) - August 5 (sunset) Tisha B’ Av, an annual fasting day, is observed to commemorate the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people.
August 6 is Transfiguration, a holiday recognized by Orthodox Christians to celebrate when Jesus became radiant, and communed with Moses and Elijah on Mount Tabor. To celebrate, adherents have a feast.
August 9 is International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. The focus this year is "Indigenous peoples building alliances: Honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements."
August 10 is Raksha Bandhan, a Hindu holiday commemorating the loving kinship between a brother and a sister. Raksha means protection in Hindi, and symbolizes the longing a sister has to be protected by her brother. During the celebration, a sister ties a string around her brother's (or brother-figure’s) wrist, and asks him to protect her. The brother usually gives the sister a gift and agrees to protect her for life.
August 12 is Pioneer Day, observed by the Mormons to commemorate the arrival in 1847 of the first Latter Day Saints pioneer in Salt Lake Valley.
August 17 is Marcus Garvey Day, which celebrates the birthday of the Jamaican politician and activist who is revered by Rastafarians. Garvey is credited with starting the Back to Africa movement, which encouraged those of African descent to return to the land of their ancestors during and after slavery in North America.
August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the August 26, 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. Congresswoman Bella Abzug first introduced a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day in 1971. Since that time, every president has published a proclamation recognizing August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.
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