USA South increasing racial diversity in leadership
By: Dan Childs
The Salvation Army Southern Territory is taking steps to increase racial and ethnic diversity in leadership. Commissioner Willis Howell has outlined in a video address to the territory how it is moving toward greater diversity in leadership and creating ways for more diverse voices to be heard.
The Southern Territory will have its first African-American divisional commanders when Majors Algerome and Teresa Newsome take command of the Georgia Division on Jan. 1, 2021, succeeding Lt. Colonels William and Debra Mockabee, who are entering honored retirement. The Newsomes, who currently command the Wake County, North Carolina, Area Command, bring spirit-filled leadership and administrative gifts to their new appointment, Commissioner Howell said.
The commissioner also announced the appointment of Captain Jervonne Hinton to the Southern Territory Board of Trustees and Officer Review Board. Captain Hinton has served as the territorial candidates secretary since June 2019.
Additionally, Major Pierre Smith has been appointed a member of the Territorial Candidates Council. Major Smith is the commanding officer of The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Atlanta.
The territorial commander said that as the territory increases its racial and ethnic diversity, it is getting the right people into the right places and more effectively matching gifts with needs.
“Ground is being gained,” he said. “Changes are happening in the Southern Territory. It isn’t by any means an end; rather, it is a beginning.”
Racial justice and ethnic equality are receiving a higher profile in other ways, too. At a racial justice and equity summit in September, the Territorial Executive Council heard speakers from the Center for Biblical Unity as well as George Yancey, a professor at Baylor University and author of “Beyond Racial Gridlock.” The TEC invited key THQ department heads and cadets to the summit.
At the national level of The Salvation Army, the National Diversity Equity and Inclusion Commission has met twice and has already begun forwarding recommendations to the Commissioners Conference. The commission includes four officers from the Southern Territory.
Also, Commissioner Howell said that a Territorial Consultative Council on Diversity and Race has been formed; it includes officers and soldiers of color who have been charged with making recommendations to territorial leadership on matters relating to diversity and race.