Council Seeks Input On Diversity And Inclusion

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Two members of the Verona Town Council are looking to set a new framework for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in town and they are asking the public to participate in two working group sessions.

Deputy Mayor Christine McGrath and Council member Cynthia Holland serve on the Council’s DEI subcommittee, one of several issue subgroups that the Council established after its reorganization meeting in July. “The Council felt very strongly that resident voices should be at the center of this important conversation,” says McGrath, “which is why we are asking for volunteers to help us with developing a mission statement for our community. ”

The working group will meet on Tuesday, September 28, from 6 to 7 p.m. and Tuesday, October 5, from 7 to 8 p.m. To participate, volunteers must be able to attend both meetings and be a Verona resident. High school students may volunteer for the working group as well. To participate, residents need to fill out this form.

The goal of the working group will be to create a DEI mission statement, but there are no activities or initiatives planned beyond the two meetings yet. “We are excited to pull together residents for these first conversations, and we will see where it leads,” says McGrath.

Holland, who was just elected to the Council in May, says that the working group will be asked to take a broad view on DEI, noting that the Council has received public comment about the need for greater inclusion of residents with disabilities in Verona’s recreation programs.

“I think the value of any DEI mission statement is that it states a purpose, overall intention, and direction,” Holland says. “Community engagement means that resident voices are heard in the drafting and preparation of the statement that provides that purpose and direction. Our goal would be to bring the statement back to the Council for consideration on behalf of the Township. If adopted, the statement could inform subsequent actions taken to benefit Verona residents.”

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