We know that vibrant and welcoming communities are a pillar of what our kids need to succeed, and a key to attracting and retaining community members in our rural region. As our awareness individually and within our communities grows, we see that our communities don’t work the same for everyone.
There’s more we can and must do for all our kids and their families to feel like they belong and be able to contribute to community life. Listening and learning from people who have different backgrounds and experiences is a place to start. We appreciate how people are coming together in our southwest Minnesota communities to create space for meaningful conversations and positive change. We also understand there’s a lot more for us each to do. Following are new initiatives in southwest Minnesota aimed at advancing racial equity in our region.
This year, the City of Marshall established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission with a mission to create and sustain an ongoing dialogue, through which it explores inequities, shares information, and is a change agent for race equity within the community.
The City of Worthington’s newly formed Cross Cultural Advisory Committee will advise the city council on their community engagement practices and recommendations on cross cultural and culturally competent community outreach and communication and assist in improving the cultural competence of the city of Worthington leadership, policy, practices and services.
Ridgewater College has developed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council on both its Willmar and Hutchinson campuses. Community members on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council advisory board will provide input to inform college activities and decisions and also serve as liaisons to the community and as partners in college and community collaborations to address diversity, equity and inclusion issues on campus and in the community.
Willmar is gathering signatures for an anti-racism statement developed by an Inclusion Focus Area sub-committee of Willmar Lakes Area Vision 2040 and adopted by the City of Willmar Human Rights Commission. Individuals, organizations, and institutions are invited to sign on with their commitment to recognizing, addressing, and opposing all forms of hateful behaviors, racism, and social injustice, and ensure that everyone’s rights are respected, no exceptions.
Want to learn more about engaging your community in racial equity work? You can hear from community members who shared their insights at our “Building Vibrant and Welcoming Communities: Anti-Hate Awareness and Action Forum”. Access the recording of the breakout session “Sharing What Works: How to Engage Your Community”