CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) – An uncomfortable, yet necessary topic: That was the idea behind a follow-up roundtable discussion held at Kent State University’s Trumbull campus Friday.

Coleman Health Services partnered up with the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board to hold the Unmute the Uncomfortable Roundtable Discussion focusing on Racial Equity Action Steps for providers, organizations and community members.

Judge Carla Baldwin was the guest speaker. She spoke about the importance of these conversations.

“Having open communications with staff and community partners, to have those conversations to make sure that we are vigilant in guarding against racism, ageism, sexism, classism, and just making our places of business better by making sure our employees are safe,” she said.

Judge Baldwin also gave some examples of things they do in her office to keep the environment comfortable and positive.

“I’m happy that in addition to having regular staff meetings, we have coffee breaks where we get together and communicate and just have a good time, and we’re not allowed to talk about work, and it’s completely voluntary, and we have a good time and we get to know each other better,” Judge Baldwin said.

One activity that employees in her workplace take part in is a “secret pal” in which each employee has a secret person in the office who leaves him or her encouraging messages, small gifts and thoughtful gestures. Judge Baldwin said it creates a caring environment.

Friday’s discussion was a follow-up to a February event at the Eastwood Event Centre.

“We really wanted to make sure that we took what we were doing in February and continued it and really focused on, ‘Ok, what actions can we take to make the community better?'” said Hattie Tracy, president and CEO of Coleman Health Services.

After Judge Baldwin’s seminar, the guests branched out into breakout sessions to discuss topics such as DEI Team Development and Sustainment, Amplifying Community Advocacy and Eliminating Barriers and Increasing Access.

Tracy said they would like to continue these types of roundtable discussions.