Starr Commonwealth offers a unique approach to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI-B) for professionals by approaching DEI-B through a trauma-informed, resilience-focused, and culturally responsive lens. Starr recognizes that experiences of racism, toxic hierarchy, and oppression are experiences of individual, collective, and historical/intergenerational trauma. Starr’s Glasswing DEI-B Programming offers space for dialogue and training to foster healing and resilience in order to support participants in moving towards a culture of safety, belonging, and equity.

At Starr we deeply understand and have decades of practice-based evidence on how to build resilience and support healing the experience of trauma. We understand that trauma is a body experience and that we must engage in healing issues of inequity and oppression in an embodied way to restore connection, curiosity, and belonging. We understand that being able to name the harm and tell the truth about our histories and experiences is part of the process. We recognize that the emotional experience of belonging is a cornerstone to resilience and deep inclusion, that is crucial to both the personal and organizational journeys with DEI-B. All of our Glasswing experiences are created to support embodied healing and foster belonging, as we face truths and the discomforts that may arise from these truths.

The first seeds of Glasswing programming were planted at Starr in the early 1990’s when administration and staff recognized that the treatment methodologies for youth and their families could be much more effective if treatment teams enhanced their awareness and understanding of cultural and structural racism. Formal programming began in 1996 with Starr’s Glasswing Racial Healing experience. Glasswing was formally created after a small group of leaders from Starr attended a presentation by Nathan Rutstein, author of several books on racism, including Racism in America: A Prescription for the Disease. Impacted by the clarity and power of Rutstein’s work on the “disease of racism” in our society and how individuals can work to remedy it, Starr leadership decided to commit the organization’s resources—capacity, time, and funding—to the task of weaving the concepts and practices of healing racism into the fabric of its culture. Thousands of participants from several hundred organizations have completed Starr’s Glasswing Racial Healing experience. An indication of the impact is that over 80% of participants stated that the experience was “transformative”. Significant too is that approximately 97% of the participants felt the experience was a safe environment in which to explore their own feelings about racism as well as to learn from others’ experiences.

The name Glasswing was selected with intention because it is the name of a rare and delicate butterfly of Central and South America with translucent wings. The Spanish name for the Glasswing butterfly is espejitos (ess peh hee tose), translating to “little mirrors.” Symbolically, this describes Glasswing Racial Healing’s purpose: to help all of us truly see one another and our world more clearly as well as see ourselves without distortion. Rainforest ecologists use the presence of this rare tropical gem as an indication of high habitat quality. As the environment is thriving, the Glasswing butterflies can be seen to flourish; as the environment’s health is threatened, the Glasswings’ numbers are immediately negatively impacted. More than a name, Glasswing is a movement that connects and uplifts us all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or spiritual tradition.

Starr believes in the deeply held value of healing in connection. Therefore Starr has invested Starr believes in the deeply held value of healing in connection, through experiences of belonging. Therefore Starr has invested in expanding its programming building upon Starr’s original Glasswing Racial Healing experience. We now offer additional DEI-B workshops, trainings, and eLearning courses (e.g., workshops such as Intro to DEI-B, Equity in Action, Implicit Bias for Educators, From Oppression to Oneness, Five Shifts to Transformation, and courses such as LGBTQIA+ Youth: From Trauma to Belonging),with more to come! Through this programming we provide experiences for connection and compassion by calling everyone into the process and creating a structure for people to tell their stories, connect with their hearts, and truly hold space for the practice of radical compassion.

Starr’s unique trauma-informed, resilience-focused approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging provides a healing space to support people to tell the truth, show up to the pain, and heal in connection. We understand that healing personal and collective trauma is unique to each individual journey and that we must meet people where they are to support ongoing transformation. We engage with the Five Shifts to Transformation as tenets for working together to create a culture that authentically embraces diversity, builds more equitable systems and relationships, and practices belonging to support deep inclusion.