Sweet celebration after council establishes Diversity Commission

Babucarr Jallow, Executive Director of the Seattle Gambia Association, and other members of the Gambian delegation accept boxed chocolates from Emily Hill outside Edmonds City Council chambers after the council voted to approve establishing a city Diversity Commission. Pat McKee of Nama’s Candy in downtown Edmonds donated the chocolates for the occasion. (Photos by Larry Vogel)


The Edmonds City Council at its Tuesday night meeting officially established a City of Edmonds Diversity Commission, inspired by a Walk Against Racism last September after an Edmonds man and his family were threatened while visiting Sunset Avenue.

Emily Hill, who spearheaded last year’s walk after Dembo Sanneh, a native of Gambia, and his children were subjected to racial slurs and death threats, said: “What a proud moment in history to be living in Edmonds that we have a mayor and city council that have listened to and fostered the efforts of concerned citizens to welcome the immigrant community to our city.”

Jabbow speaks to the council Tuesday night.
Babucarr Jallow speaks to the council Tuesday night.

Babucarr Jallow, Executive Director of the Seattle Gambia Association, was in attendance with other members of the local Gambian community, and offered his thanks to councilmembers for their support. “We appreciate everything that the council is doing and the community of Edmonds and Snohomish County is doing,” Jallow said. “All we asking for is more open doors, more welcoming doors because we belong to this community and we are part of this community.”

The goal of the Diversity Commission, as approved by the council, is “to promote and embrace through action, education and guidance, an understanding that accepts, celebrates, and appreciates diversity within the community.”

The first commission seated will be selected by the Mayor and City Council. The Mayor will appoint two members, and each of seven Council members will appoint one member to the commission. Terms of the commission will be three years.

The commission will begin operating after the council addresses how it will be staffed.


  1. Emily Hill is an incredible asset to our community. Her dedication and compassion to this issue makes us all stronger. I would also like to thank Mr. Jallow and all of those that served on the Diversity Commission task force. And thank you council for moving forward.

  2. So happy to see this as it was my calling the police that day that began this positive action. Nice to see the ripples grow larger with more action and acceptance taken for our town. Makes my heart sing!

  3. Great – please keep us posted on the commission’s activities and decisions. And please: bear in mind the disabled and the LGBT population: young LGBT persons need to know they are valued.

  4. Dear Nathaniel,
    Yes, you are absolutely correct in your inclusion of the LGBT community and, that the needs of physically challenged individuals must be considered if Edmonds’ going-forward activities and initiatives, panels and public forums on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality are to hold merit.
    We have several interested — and participating — individuals whose focus is on ensuring that these populations are represented; and who served on the Task Force, or who offered advice to the Diversity Task Force members.
    We are sure that they will stay in “the conversation”.
    I’m sure that all are pleased that you are following the City Council’s advancements on this front.

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