70th ISRW Diversity & Inclusion Council creates stronger bonds Published Feb. 22, 2023 By Staff Sgt. Kevin Iinuma 70th ISR Wing Public Affairs FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- The 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing Diversity and Inclusion Council was established July 9, 2020. The group’s goal is to create a work environment that will recruit and retain Airmen that reflect a diversified workforce for all organizations. Air Force Instruction 36-7001, Diversity & Inclusion, broadly defines diversity as “a composite of individual characteristics, experiences, and abilities consistent with the Air Force Core Values and the Air Force Mission. Air Force diversity includes, but is not limited to: personal life experiences, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, cultural knowledge, educational background, work experience, language abilities, physical abilities, philosophical and spiritual perspectives, age, race, ethnicity, and gender.” “It's important to create a culture that empowers authenticity by embracing diversity and driving inclusion because people are always our greatest asset,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Macey Valentine, 70th ISRW D&I Council member. “With a diverse and inclusive workspace, we can earn deeper trust and more commitment from our Airmen.” Creating diversity in the Air Force increases its warfighting capabilities and lethality by attracting talent from diverse applicants and leveraging their unique characteristics, experiences, and abilities to complete the mission. “We are stronger together; however, we are only as strong as our weakest link,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vanity Cross-Williams, 70th ISRW D&I Council co-manager. Since its inception, the council has hosted awareness events such as luncheons, museum tours and fun runs, to bring a diverse group of people together to connect and learn more about each other. “I want to give a voice to those who felt like they never had one and give those same people a seat at the table they previously could not sit at,” said Valentine. “I want everyone to feel heard and know they matter, and I want to educate people who don't know better but want to.” There are always challenges when starting a new endeavor such as creating an entirely new council from scratch. With every challenge, there is one thing that Airmen want: a better group, a better wing, and a better Air Force. “This experience has been extremely fulfilling and eye-opening,” said Valentine. “I hoped the creation of the council would make a difference, but I had no idea to what scale that difference would be. I'm so proud of the work we've done so far, but we still have a long way to go!” The wing recently assigned a new D&I Manager, Ms. Frances Rodgers, who will act as a focal point for education, development, and community involvement. “The D&I program is the starting point for development because the armed services and DOD may be the first time we engage someone whose personal norms differ from our own,” said Rodgers. “This is a human program, not a ‘let's get along’ program. D&I encourages a broader range of thought, which promotes innovation.” Rodgers plans to network with other D&I teams to continue building a program that supports the wing and it’s geographically separated units spanning 28 locations worldwide. For more information, contact the 70th ISRW D&I office at 301-957-9597.