The Edmonds Diversity Commission held its annual retreat along with its monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 7, at the Edmonds Senior Center. All commissioners were present, with the exception of Ed Dorame, along with staff, Council Liaison Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, and two community members. Chair, Diana White, and Vice-Chair, Donnie Griffin, guided the commission through a full agenda during the four-hour session.
Commissioners took time to share their motivation for service on the Edmonds Diversity Commission, as well as personal insights into their inspiration for and commitment to equity and inclusion. These discussions centered on the differences and distances between the Edmonds Bowl and the Edmonds “rim.” Commissioners developed both near- and far-reaching vision and planning that resulted from the meeting. The commission’s vision of Edmonds in five years is a place with a wider cross-section of the Edmonds’ population engaged and interconnected through community events, business, access to opportunities, services and much more.
In addition to retreat and visioning work, the commission also reviewed the current police investigation into racial incidents in Edmonds and the school district’s response to concerns raised at Meadowdale Elementary School (media statement forthcoming). A representative from the Communities of Color Coalition (CCC), David Ortiz, invited the commission to participate in the Race Conference on April 28 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Edmonds Community College. This is a free event, so for more information, contact NPSCOR@C3Coalition.org. Other upcoming events include Leadership Snohomish County’s second annual Step Up event planned on Friday, April 20, at the Lynnwood Convention Center.
The last two features of the 2017-18 Edmonds Diversity Film Series at the Edmonds Theater will be presented in March and April. The next screening is “Mi Vida Dentro” on March 17, at noon, a documentary about “a controversial court case involving an illegal immigrant and the death of a young child.” “Out In America” follows on April 21, also at noon, and presents “the stories of prominent LGBT figures mixed with those of ordinary people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.” 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.
Each commission subgroup has set its goals for the year. Recommendations from the Policy Subgroup to be proposed to the city will be discussed at the April meeting, as well as future planning on how to integrate new recommendations and policy priorities in the future. Creating a set protocol for how to forward recommendations to the mayor, city council, and other government and community leaders is a priority for the Policy Subgroup and staff in the second quarter.
The Events Subgroup has begun planning for the Youth Forum (April 27) to be held at Edmonds-Woodway High School, along with Fourth of July parade participation. The scheduling and planning for the World Café event in the early winter and the 2018-19 film series will be finalized over the summer. This Subgroup will also coordinate with partners, like the Communities of Color Coalition, to participate in outside events, and to support the Partnerships and Communication Subgroup in the administration of the Commission Grant Program, that often supports events proposed by community members and group. The next cycle of the Commission Grants Program is now open. Applications will be accepted through April 20, and awards made in June 2018. Go to the commission webpage for more information and the application.
The Partnerships and Communications Subgroup will identify key partners for 2018 to expand the education and reach of the Commission. The subgroup is also meeting with city representatives in March and April to discuss additional methods for media, education and other communications to expand visibility within the community, with the intended outcome to be a comprehensive Communications and Outreach Plan.
The Edmonds Diversity Commission holds its public meetings on the first Wednesday of every month (6- 8 p.m.) at either 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.
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: www.edmondswa.gov/diversity-commission-home.html.
— Submitted by Maria Montalvo, Edmonds Diversity Commission