Published: February 10, 2023
The DEPLOY Fellows Program exists to support inclusion for military and Veteran families of color
Washington, DC — Today, Blue Star Families introduced its 2022-2023 cohort of DEPLOY Fellows, which supports inclusion for diverse military and Veteran families.
The DEPLOY Fellows Program – a key component of Blue Star Families’ Campaign for Inclusion – contributes to the goal of meeting the unique needs of diverse military- and Veteran-connected families to enhance military readiness and retention. Blue Star Families will listen to experiences, share findings, and partner with others to act and empower change throughout the campaign; therefore creating an environment where military- and Veteran-connected families of color feel welcome and included in the communities where they live and serve.
“As part of our Campaign for Inclusion, we’re providing nonprofit experience, leadership training, and broad exposure to our 2022-2023 cohort of DEPLOY Fellows so they can become a pipeline of talent for eventual positions of leadership within the military and Veteran service organization space,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families. “I’m proud to see them prosper in their roles. They’re working on the ground with families in Blue Star Chapter locations, addressing pressing housing and food insecurity issues, and receiving experience in tech and finance fields where representation is crucial to helping individuals of color see themselves in these roles and better meeting the needs of diverse membership, people, and families.”
The 2022-2023 DEPLOY Fellows cohort is listed below.
Andrea Unzueta, USAA San Diego DEPLOY Fellow
Jerilyn-Lim Leonard, McCormick Foundation Chicagoland DEPLOY Fellow
Kimberly Gold, Wells Fargo Housing Insecurity DEPLOY Fellow
Mickia Freeman, USAA Tampa DEPLOY Fellow
Laura Abubekr, Lockheed Martin National Capital Region DEPLOY Fellow
Lydiah Owiti, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Financial Wellness DEPLOY Fellow
Marla Bautista, Lockheed Martin Food Insecurity/Welcome Programs DEPLOY Fellow
Angela Alford, Salesforce Technology DEPLOY Fellow
“We look forward to working together through our Campaign for Inclusion DEPLOY Fellowship Program to expand the pipeline for diverse leadership throughout the military and Veteran community and continue the work of improving the experiences of military families of color,” said Ret. U.S. Army First Sergeant Carlandra “CT” Moss, Director of the Campaign for Inclusion & DEI Senior Advisor to the CEO.
The inaugural 2021-2022 DEPLOY Fellows cohort was a major success, with all nine graduates obtaining employment. Of these fellows, many accepted positions supporting military and/or Veteran families, addressing a nationally-recognized issue related to a scarcity of nonprofit leaders of color nationwide.
About Blue Star Families’ Campaign for Inclusion:
During a community pulse check in 2020, the Racial Equity and Inclusion Initiative was initially focused on forming a deeper understanding of the needs of military- and Veteran-connected families of color. In keeping with its mission to build strong communities of support to improve military readiness, Blue Star Families committed to listening, sharing, partnering, and acting. The 2021 inaugural survey and accompanying research report created an intentional space to listen to military- and Veteran-connected families of color.
When Blue Star Families released the data in early 2022, the organization discovered certain families face unique challenges. The good news revealed by the research is that military service has promising benefits for service members of color – across all types of needs and areas, including education, health care, finances, and more. As Blue Star Families listened, it also found opportunities for communities to come together to better support these service members, Veterans, and their families.
To more broadly support diverse military- and Veteran-connected families, Blue Star Families evolved and expanded the Racial Equity and Inclusion Initiative into the Campaign for Inclusion. Helping families feel at home and included in the communities where they live and serve is at the heart of Blue Star Families’ work. This campaign offers an opportunity to uphold its mission while empowering stakeholders to join in on this important work.