(AF Press Release) YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan—Pacific Air Forces hosted a diversity and inclusion training for senior non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers at Yokota Air Base, May 4, to improve their ability to recognize the strengths of the Air Force’s diverse population.
The training, called LIVE, stands for leading inclusive virtual experience, and put Yokota leaders to the test in immersive scenarios.
“LIVE uses technology and science based research in order to create scenarios that put people in realistic situations,” said Mr. Anthony Cruz Munoz, PACAF chief of Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and Accessibility. “The benefit of this kind of training is not only for the individual that sits in the seat and engages in conversations, but everybody else that’s in that room witnessing the event.”
The DEIA mission is to promote a greater understanding and appreciation for one another, and to build and maintain a work culture that ensures everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
“People grow based on experiences and perspective,” said Cruz Munoz, “We do have a responsibility for creating an environment where every single Airman believes that their voice matters, is heard, and that they have a responsibility to use it.”
The training began with a brief overview of the criteria, expectations, and complex interpersonal situations to be addressed.
Participants started the LIVE video call with an animated person who was struggling with simulated conflicts, like bullying or maltreatment, involved and navigated the scenario to resolve matters in a way that is designed to be trying and immersive.
“We are in the ‘people business,’” said Master Sgt. Candice Trigg, 374th Airlift Wing chief of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility. “Our job is to analyze areas for improvement and create customized strategies for the way that we approach inclusive leadership. These targeted strategies could be providing training, changing policy, or implementing new programs.
The end goal is to ensure that all members, both military and civilian, are able and empowered to contribute their full selves to the success of the mission.”
Trigg likened diversity to different ingredients–where sugar, flour, flavoring, and eggs can represent people. “Inclusion is all those ingredients combined, and how they work together bringing out the best in each other to make a perfect slice of cake,” she continued.
Following the LIVE video call, the room opened for discussion. Each participant had the opportunity to share their thought process for how they handled the scenario and the observing group provided their outside perspective, based on each individual’s life experience. The facilitator then provided additional interpretations to the conflict at hand.
“Diversity welcomes dialogue when there are so many different perspectives,” said Cruz Munoz, “There was feedback given, there were blind spots, there were biases. Just having the conversations enhances awareness and allows us to better understand the team. Our desire is that they take that growth out to their units.”
Airmen who participated are now charged with implementing their newfound understanding within the organizations they lead and providing opportunities for younger generations of Airmen to join their legacy of forging a culture of inclusivity.
“Learning how we can be better humans to each other that ultimately affects our warfighting imperative,” said Trigg. “We’re all here to fight the fight. As long as we’re bringing everybody to the table, where they are able to contribute to that mission, we can get the best version of our Airmen.”