The $1 million Blue Star Families’ Racial Equity Initiative seeks to improve the service experiences of military families of color, Military Times reported.
The initiative will include aspects such as research and “a leadership training program to create a pipeline for the next generation of diverse leaders who want to work with private organizations supporting military families,” the Times reported.
Leadership in military service and veteran service groups are disproportionately populated by white people, which is not representative of the diversity in military family populations, according to Blue Star Families.
Before COVID-19, 7 out of 10 Black and Hispanic/Latino military families experienced financial stress. And 50% of Black and 40% of Hispanic/Latino military families reported unemployment and underemployment as a top three contributor to financial stress, according to Blue Star Families.
Black active-duty families also had more difficulty staying informed and were less able to find information and resources.
The initiative will conduct focus groups to create recommendations on how to better serve military families of color.
The initiative’s leadership pipeline of training – called “DEPLOY MC,” Diversify and Expand the Pipeline of Leaders for Your Military Community – will create a fellowship program.
The DEPLOY Fellowship application period will run from Jan. 2 to Jan. 31 – the fellowships will run from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022.
Participants will be in full-time paid fellowships in the Blue Star Families organization.