Hanscom AFB welcomes new DEIA chief

  • Published
  • By Lauren Russell
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – 66th Air Base Group officials recently hired a new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Cell chief to ensure members of the workforce here have the right environment, resources, and opportunities to succeed in their careers. 

Ray Anderson has taken the charge of working to remove employment barriers, while cultivating a high-quality and diverse Total Force.

Anderson, a 26-year Air Force veteran, has been working as an equal opportunity professional for most of his career, although his passion for diversity and inclusion began in his youth.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, he got his first dose of culture shock at 12, when his mother moved their family back to her native Trinidad and Tobago.

“It was such an educational experience for me,” said Anderson. “I don’t think my mother knew then what it would do for my cultural competency, but it was so valuable for me in the long run because it gave me the ability to change my perspective.”

After graduating high school, Anderson followed his older cousins’ footsteps back to the U.S., where he enlisted in the Air Force as a Security Forces defender, and eventually became a Phoenix Raven; a group of specially trained Security Forces personnel dedicated to protecting Air Force aircraft traveling through austere locations. 

“The comradery within this community was awesome, and we all protected each other,” he said.

Unable to top his experience with the Ravens, Anderson knew it was time to find another mission where he could help others, so he retrained into Equal Opportunity.

Despite the cultural diversity of his upbringing, both in New York and the Caribbean, Anderson said his transition to become an EO specialist was difficult. He realized that even the most open-minded individuals can have unconscious biases they need to address.

“It was painful at first; learning about myself and the biases I had was difficult. I appreciate that it woke me up,” he said.

Once he was certified and delivering trainings to the force, he saw that he could help others open themselves to difficult conversations.

“I realized that I could help change minds and change the way people process things, and that’s what’s kept me in this field,” said Anderson. “I could be in a room of 30 people, but to see the lightbulb go off for one person means I’ve done my job.”

As the DEIA chief here, Anderson will lead the installation’s recruitment and retainment of a diverse and equitable force through trainings, resources, observance months and base events.

Anderson also works closely with other DEIA-related change makers, such as the Inclusion Program and Hanscom AFB EO office. 

“All the agencies and leaders here play a role in helping us get our human relations climate where we need it be,” he said. “I think we have the right people in place to do that, and I’m excited to watch it happen and come to fruition.”

For additional information about Hanscom AFB DEIA, email Ray.Anderson.6@us.af.mil.