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Executive Director of The Village of Westland

Roger Bushnell photosWhen The Village of Westland's Executive Director Roger Bushnell was looking for his next job, he prioritized organizations that embodied an inclusive and welcoming environment for the LGBTQ+ community.

"According to SAGE, an advocacy group for LGBTQ+ elders, there is a real issue with openly LGBTQ+ seniors feeling that they might need to go back into the closet to get the care and services they'll need as they age," explains Roger. "As an openly gay man who has been with his husband for 37 years—married for seven—I found this deeply concerning and wanted to work with an organization that prioritizes inclusivity from all walks of life." To deepen his network and resources, he became a member of MiGen, the Michigan LGBTQ+ Elders Network, and joined its Board of Directors three years ago.

PVM was one of the few senior living housing organizations with completed certifications that differentiated it as an inclusive and welcoming community for LGBTQ+ folks. "An organization's commitment to DEIJ has to begin at the top; leadership has to walk the walk and talk the talk, and that sets the stage for the kind of integrated, everyday approach to DEIJ we see at PVM," he notes. "We not only take the time to create events that highlight and celebrate the diverse experiences of our residents, it's a daily practice to show equal respect and dignity to everyone at PVM, from our employees to our residents to our partners. One of the fun events we just held here at Westland was inviting preschool school students to give presentations to our residents where they told the stories of famous and influential Black Americans. This was a great experience for the kids to learn about these historical figures, and it showed our community that they're welcome to join us and our residents as we celebrate backgrounds of all kinds." 

Roger appreciates that he works in an environment that encourages everyone to be open, honest, and respectful of each other's differences. "The thing about people of diverse cultures living together is that you don't have to agree with everything someone does or believes to be respectful to them," Roger shares. "We all have different backgrounds that have helped us develop our belief systems and values throughout the years, and we have to give each other space to embody those experiences while giving each other the grace to have a difference in opinion."

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