ST. LOUIS, Jan. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameren Corporation has introduced "Discussion Across Differences," a series of videos and discussion guides that explore and encourage honest dialogue around the issues of diversity and inclusion. The materials – which Ameren uses for its own employees – are free to community organizations, businesses and other groups. They are aimed at helping organizations engage their teams in honest conversations about managing through crisis, fear and differences.
"We believe it's important for Ameren and the business community to continue to support the Ferguson Commission's recommendations to build a stronger region," said Ameren Corporation Chairman and CEO Warner Baxter. "We are offering these free resources as a way to partner with local organizations as we look to continue to build a better and more inclusive St. Louis."
Ameren developed the resources to help foster healing and promote inclusion across the St. Louis region. The company announced the availability of the materials today at a corporate retreat that was attended by Ameren's leadership team and members of the Ferguson Commission. At the retreat, Ferguson Commission members provided Ameren with an overview of activities and initiatives that have taken place since the commission's report was issued last year.
"We know these are not easy conversations to have; the purpose of these materials is to increase people's comfort with starting and participating in discussions related to diversity and inclusion," said Sharon Harvey Davis, Ameren Corporation vice president and chief diversity officer. "These resources have been effective in generating productive dialogue inside our organization, and we hope they can spur similar conversations in the broader community."
The "Discussion Across Differences" materials help to foster attitudes and behaviors supporting racial equity, which was identified as a signature priority by the Ferguson Commission, and were developed with input from Ameren employees and community leaders.
"Discussion Across Differences" comprises a five-part video series that features conversations with selected leaders in the St. Louis community. Each video comes with a facilitator guide, participant booklet and presentation deck. The five discussion topics in the series include:
- What Is Possible: Amy Hunter, director of racial justice for YWCA Metro St. Louis, explores the differences in communities based on geography and experiences; the materials challenge participants to develop ways to understand and embrace diversity and inclusion both publicly and privately.
- The Psychology of Race: Kira Hudson-Banks, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Saint Louis University, examines how an individual may think about race, racial identity or ethnicity based on conditioning and experiences; the materials help participants develop ways to understand race, its inherent challenges and stereotypes.
- What Respect Looks Like: Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson discusses what the word respect means when utilized in different settings by various individuals; the materials illustrate the impact respect can have when it is present or absent in various situations.
- Teaching for Inclusion: Samantha Lurie, teacher at Vashon High School and 2015 Teacher of the Year recipient, looks through the lens of personal experiences, archetypes and stereotypes; the materials encourage participants to challenge assumptions regarding learning environments and develop spaces where all students will feel welcomed and celebrated.
- Reading Between the Lines: Scott Bonner, director of the Ferguson Municipal Public Library in Ferguson, Missouri, challenges viewers to imagine themselves in the middle of a community crisis with limited resources; the materials demonstrate how one individual can serve as a catalyst for creating compassion and delivering support to meet the needs of individuals, families and the community.
"All too often people don't engage with others who look different from themselves," said Harvey Davis. "The first step to building a stronger, more inclusive community begins with a simple conversation – and it's our hope these materials help start those discussions."
To view or download the "Discussion Across Differences" materials, visit Ameren.com.
St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric and natural gas delivery service while Ameren Missouri provides vertically integrated electric service, with generating capacity of 10,200 megawatts, and natural gas delivery service. Ameren Transmission of Illinois develops regional electric transmission projects. Follow the company on Twitter @AmerenCorp. For more information, visit Ameren.com.
SOURCE Ameren Corporation