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In retirement, founding member of Edmonds Diversity Commission reflects on five years of service – My Edmonds News

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As the last founding member of the Edmonds Diversity Commission, stepping down now after five years of service, I would like to offer some history and observations of the commission and its work.

The fall of 2015 brought this new commission to Edmonds. Established by the Edmonds City Council, the Diversity Commission is charged with promoting and embracing diversity through action, education, and guidance. The commission seeks to foster an understanding that includes, accepts, respects and appreciates each individual member of our community through programs, activities and policy actions. The commission advises the mayor and city council on issues related to equity, inclusion and diversity.

Over these past five years, the commission has dove headlong into its mission, with numerous activities. We have to recall:

● Presentation of three consecutive annual movie series.

● Hosting of several youth forums and World Cafe-style community conversations.

● Collection of residents’ stories about life and experiences in Edmonds as part of the “I am Edmonds” project.

● Presence in the annual Fourth of July parade with a growing contingent of supporters.

● Conducting interviews with city directors regarding diversity and inclusion in Edmonds City government. Based on those interviews, the commission made policy recommendations to the city council.

● Purchase and donation of books on diversity, inclusion and equity to Edmonds public schools and the new Waterfront Center.

● Providing measured response on behalf of city government when unfortunate incidents of bias, discrimination or harassment have occurred in the community.

These are just the highlights of the extensive work the commission has done. One thing I can say without hesitation is that I am honored to have been a part of this dynamic group of thinkers and doers. The commission has raised awareness and provided perspective in an effort to make Edmonds a better place for all of its citizens.

One of the latest projects I have been involved in stems from the commission’s “Partnership” committee. This committee has been working with a small group of representatives from the Edmonds business community. As a result of our conversations, the Partnership group identified that, while our local businesses comprise the public and semi- public places where Edmonds residents and visitors come together on a daily basis, business owners and their employees may not have the skill sets needed to help foster an inclusive and accepting community. For this reason, the Partnership group developed the idea of providing a diversity, inclusion and equity “tool kit” to local businesses to help them raise awareness among their employees and, cumulatively, promote a safe and welcoming place. This tool kit was compiled by local diversity and equity consultant Courtney Wooten under the guidance of the commission. It is being rolled out at this time to the business community and will contain a sample equity pledge, mission statement, and online resources for owners and employees alike.

We are hopeful that many Edmonds businesses will take advantage of these resources, that they will take the pledge, encourage their employees to access the available information, and that businesses will stand together for a welcoming and accepting Edmonds.

I am especially proud to be stepping down after having been a part of these accomplishments and at a time when the commission’s work has spread even farther into our business community. It is truly through partnerships like this that Edmonds will live up to the commission’s mission of Edmonds being an equitable and just community for all.

This content was originally published here.

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