The city’s Diversity and Inclusion Coalition is unlikely to form before the end of the year, but its purpose and scope is in the process of being outlined.
During City Council committee meetings Nov. 9, members discussed a resolution detailing what and how the group, based heavily on Lakewood’s Anti-Racism Task Force, will go about performing its work.
The nine-member task force, consisting of five members appointed by council and four appointed by Mayor Patrick Cooney, will be charged with reviewing racism and how it impacts the Fairview Park community. About 94% of Fairview Park’s population of 16,641 residents are caucasian, according to U.S. Census Bureau data posted on the city’s web site, www.fairviewpark.org.
The idea for the group evolved out of conversations amongst city leadership following the death of George Floyd in May and the nationwide protests that ensued. In June, several speakers shared their stories of encounters with racism in the city during a council meeting.
“We have had, and will continue to have, a lot of discussion regarding the task force and its roles and responsibilities,” Ward 4 councilwoman Sarah Wering said. “The ultimate responsibility of this group will be to identify areas of concern within the city that might be leading to intentional or unintentional racism, then make recommendations to the city administration and city council to fix or further investigate them.”
Once formed, the group will be expected to meet monthly for its first six months, then will be allowed to decide on the frequency of meetings thereafter. Each member will be required to serve a two-year term, and the group can select a chairperson. All are eligible to be reappointed after two years.
The administration will appoint a staff member to draft public notices, keep meeting minutes and perform other clerical duties.
Residents interested in joining the group will be asked to fill out an application that will be reviewed by Cooney as well as City Council. That document has yet to be formally approved.
“There have been many residents who have reached out to members of council and the mayor expressing an interest in this task force,” Wering said. “I’m pleased to see the engagement of our community members on this issue, and look forward to reviewing applications once they are available.”
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