FORT HOOD, Texas - Master Sgt. Jose Rosario believes now is the time for people to be active instead of passive bystanders, to create a more inclusive environment in the Army.
“If you see something, say something,” he said, although he is not talking about antiterrorism, he is talking about equal opportunity. “Just pushing it off and hoping someone else will deal with it is not the way to deal with stuff. We want to tackle these issues directly.”
The III Corps Equal Opportunity advisor, who is also the reigning U.S. Army Forces Command Equal Opportunity Advisor of the Year, is excited to tell people about the upcoming Army-led “Your Voice Matters” listening sessions, because it means positive changes for Fort Hood and the Army as a whole.
The Fort Hood Your Voice Matters listening sessions will be held March 29 – 30 at the People First Center here. Rosario explained that officials with Department of the Army will be seeking feedback regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, command climate, leadership, trust, gender, ethnicity, race and racial tension.
“It’s an opportunity for Soldiers and DA (Department of Army) civilians to voice their concerns that affect their personal and professional lives,” Rosario said.
While the listening sessions will be held live, they will also be streamed virtually via Microsoft Teams. Since July 8, 2020, the Army has been hosting these Your Voice Matters listening sessions at installations across the world, speaking with thousands of Soldiers, with the goal of creating a more inclusive force.
“I highly encourage Soldiers and DA civilians to get out there and let their voices be heard,” Rosario added. “Sometimes Soldiers and DA civilians don’t know where to go, so this is a good way for their voice to be heard.”
The EO advisor said units at Fort Hood have been doing various things with regards to diversity through inclusion. He said one of his favorites is when the units host potlucks and encourage the troops to bring their favorite dish from their background or where they grew up.
He said food brings people together, which is one of the reasons it works. It also works because Soldiers want to show one another that they are more than the uniform they wear or the job they hold.
“They get to know each other as people, ask questions and understand one another better,” Rosario explained. “They’re more than just a wrench turner-they’re more than just their job.”
To attend one of the Your Voice Matters listening sessions, Soldiers should sign up with their unit EO advisor. Units will also be distributing information about how to view the sessions via MS Teams and let their voices be heard.
“I love the title, Your Voice Matters,” Rosario added, “because your voice really does matter.”