The current police investigation of racial slurs in Edmonds and a potential hate crime, as reported to the FBI, monopolized much of the meeting. During public comments, several citizens and representatives from the Snohomish County NAACP and the Communities of Color Coalition spoke to express their concern about the “second publicized incident in a short period of time” and requested that the commission take a “firm stance against racial intolerance.” Because the incident is still being investigated, the commission will release a statement later this week with regard to the type of action without commenting on the specifics of this case. The commission invites residents to read reports in the media as well as through the Edmonds Police Department to learn more. Community members asked that the commissioners continue to work to understand, address and communicate about racial intolerance and social unrest.
The commission initiated a 2018 Work Plan and updated the community on programming to create more and impactful partnerships with organizations across Edmonds and Snohomish County. Events will include the annual Youth Forum and World Café, as well as the grant program for diversity-related community events. The World Café and film series are focused on building more bridges and promoting open dialogue across an ever-growing group of Edmonds’ citizens. The grant program saw great success of the two first rounds of grants, and the commission will publicize its next opportunity for 2018 diversity programming grants in April.
The annual Edmonds Diversity Film Series continues to be successful, with between 80 and 100 attendees at each of the movies shown during the inaugural series. All of the films are screened at no cost to viewers thanks to the support of the Commission, Edmonds Center for the Arts, the Edmonds Theater and Rick Steves’ Europe. The next screening is “Off and Running” on Feb. 17, at noon. Described as “an intimate and earnest examination of race, gender identity, and the definition of “family,” this sociological documentary chronicle filters said themes through the eyes of Avery Klein-Cloud, an intelligent and generally well-adjusted teenager from Brooklyn with decidedly unusual circumstances.”
In other business, several policy issues were forwarded for discussion at the planned March retreat, and planning for the upcoming events. Later this week, the commission will be presenting sets of six books that promote diversity and equity to 10 local elementary schools.
All commissioners were present at the meeting, with the exception of Pat Valle, along with staff and several community members. Newly-appointed Commissioner Brian Potter was also introduced as a citizen committed to “bringing economic diversity into the conversation.”
Information about the meetings, city-sponsored and other diversity events in Edmonds, and resources for issues related to diversity and inclusion can be found at the commission’s webpage: http://www.edmondswa.gov/diversity-commission-home.html.
The Edmonds Diversity Commission holds its public meetings on the first Wednesday of every month (6-8 p.m.) and is rotating the meetings between the Edmonds Senior Center in the Edmonds Bowl and the Edmonds Public Works building, close to Highway 99. Please check the website for dates and locations.
— By Maria Montalvo, Edmonds Diversity Commission