The Edmonds Diversity Commission celebrated many firsts during its November meeting, but placed its main focus on how to create more and effective partnerships with organizations across Edmonds and Snohomish County.
All commissioners were present at the Nov. 1, with the exception of Diana White and Tung Bui, along with staff and several community members.
Just days after the Diversity Commission’s World Café event on Oct. 14 (see My Edmonds News coverage here), the first film of the first annual Edmonds Diversity Film Series brought more than 100 people to the Edmonds Theater to see Somewhere Between, a chronicle of the lives of four Chinese girls adopted by American families. Councilmember Fraley-Monillas facilitated an active discussion after the free screening. The next free screening will be on Saturday, Nov. 18: Swim Team – the parents of a boy on the autism spectrum form a competitive swim team, recruiting diverse teens on the spectrum.
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. After the November screening, the series will continue in January with A Stray, about a young Somali refugee in Minneapolis.
Announcements were made promoting events funded by the first two grants awarded under the commission’s diversity-oriented grant program. Both of those events will take place in the next four weeks:
- On Nov. 19, a multicultural storytelling event, “Stories for Self and Solidarity,” will be offered free to all ages to explore themes of community and identity through stories. The event will be at Edmonds Library (650 Main St.) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- On Dec. 1, the movie “Black Girl in Suburbia” will be screened for free at 6:30 p.m. at the Mountlake Terrace High School Theater. The film explores the conflict and issues related to race, identity and perspective. The screening will include filmmaker and director Melissa Lowery and her two daughters, who will discuss their experiences and facilitate a wider discussion.
Building on the success of the commission’s first round of grants, the commission has opened the application period for the initial 2018 diversity programming grants and will accept submissions through Nov. 17, 2017. Information is available at https://www.edmondswa.gov/diversity-commission-home.html and will accept submissions through November 17, 2017.
The commission will also continue its World Café and film series in 2018, with the goal of building more bridges and promoting open dialogue among Edmonds residents.
A presentation from the Edmonds Center for the Arts stimulated discussion on ways to grow existing relationships and connections that spread the word about accessibility and inclusion to the community. ECA’s programming includes sensory-friendly presentations for children on the autism spectrum, a Dementia-inclusive Series, and a Community & Cultural Development series.
ECA is also working to publicize its accessibility policies and efforts to welcome hearing- and sight-impaired patrons. Commissioner Pat Valle was appointed as the liaison between the ECA Inclusion & Accessibility Committee and Diversity Commission to pursue partnership opportunities in training, outreach and education.
On Jan. 11, 2018, ECA is presenting the world premiere of Love Heals All Wounds, a dance collaboration between Lil Buck and Jon Boogz that addresses social issues and seeks to promote diversity, inclusion and empathy as a uniting force. Locally based Northwest Tap Connection will open the show.
In other business, the commission initiated 2018 work plan and budgeting discussions. Information was also shared regarding the city’s challenges in fulfilling $151 million in outstanding accessibility compliance projects, as well as the need to extend additional training regarding a wide range of diversity and inclusion topics.
The commission has completed its initial posting of resources and contact information for services and organizations committed to diversity and inclusion across Snohomish County. Those are now available on the commission website.
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.
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: https://www.edmondswa.gov/diversity-commission-home.html.
— Submitted by Maria Montalvo, Edmonds Diversity Commission