After months of discussion and a fair share of controversy before its creation, the city’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) coalition now also has elected leadership: Jennifer Kramer was chosen chairperson for the coalition at the June 2 meeting and Carolyn Benion was elected vice chair.

The coalition was created in April to “promote diversity and inclusion in the City of Fairview Park,” and is made up of nine residents from the city. Five are appointed through the city council and four are appointed by the M\mayor. Each is serving a two-year term and are eligible for reappointment.

In addition to Benion and Kramer, the members of the coalition are: William Eyman; Matt Hribar; Heidi Lang; Felicia Munoz-Davenport; Bunda Russ; Peggy Schauer; and Heather Schneider.

Coalition members now are going to start looking for a more diverse and inclusive Fairview Park. Members’ first step is defining diversity, equity and inclusion. Ideas for diversity looked at creating a fair to highlight the histories and cultures of diverse groups; a diversity week featuring different cultural foods; and encouraging the city to seek diversity in their hiring processes.

Equity ideas looked at different procedures for different departments, such as police and fire, to look into if there were implementations for putting in reporting systems concerning discriminatory incidents and how citizens could report them.

For inclusion, some brainstormed ideas included an ADA playground for Fairview Park; adding a DEI center at the Gemini Center or another public place for citizens to go for resources, meeting and information.

The coalition is looking at creating a survey to be sent out across the city for community input on issues they might be facing within the city, such as internet access or barriers people face.

Benion pointed out that one of the focuses with the survey should be reaching people who are not always spoken to first, suggesting incentives be attached to the survey.

They may send the survey out through the city’s online newsletter or through paper handouts at community events, such as Summerfest.

For summerfest, a subcommittee formed out of the coalition to discuss bringing diverse food, recipe cards and other activities in order to reach out to the community.

Contact this reporter at mmacarthur@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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