The Edmonds Diversity Commission jumped right into several serious topics during its Wednesday, Feb. 6 meeting, including issues related to the “Build the Wall” cookie as well as goal setting for the year.
Commission co-chairs Pat Valle and Anabel Hovig led the commission in a follow-up discussion of 2019 goal setting by each sub-group.
Concerns were raised over the recent media coverage of Edmonds over the “Build the Wall” cookie and the potential for divisiveness. The commission and community members present focused on resulting efforts to counter any perceptions of racism in the community. Local organizations and businesses are pursuing campaigns to demonstrate love (throughout February) and inclusiveness in Edmonds. All were careful to clarify that no hate crime or incident occurred, and none called for any limits to exercising First Amendment rights.
Also in public comment, a representative from the League of Women Voters announced an upcoming Multi-Cultural Listening Session at Everett Community College on Feb. 28 from 5-7 p.m. The event will focus on engaging underrepresented groups, and more information will be available on the League of Women Voters and Edmonds Diversity Commission websites. In celebration of International Women’s Day, an upcoming all-women free screening of Captain Marvel will be offered at the Northgate Regal Cinema on March 8. The organizers are working with the Edmonds School District, so tickets are not available at this time, but anyone interested in supporting this event can learn more by contacting Alicia Crank on LinkedIn. A Networking Lunch & Learn for women will also be held at 190 Sunset restaurant on March 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 1p.m.
Commissioners reported positively regarding several diversity-focused events in the Edmonds area in January. The tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. at Edmonds Center for the Arts, as well as the concert by ReSound, “Let Justice Roll Down – A Multi-Media Musical Journey to Selma and Back” at the Trinity Lutheran Church were both very successful in attendance and extremely well-regarded in programming content. The Edmonds Diversity Commission awarded small grants to both events in 2018.
The most recent screening at the Edmonds Theatre of the Diversity Film Series featured Bully, a heart-wrenching movie about middle and high school students suffering at the hands of bullies. The last three movies in the Diversity Film Series, which are presented the third Saturday of each month, are Old Goats, Just Charlie and Paper Tigers, with two of these filmed in Washington. All of the films are screened at no cost to viewers thanks to the support of the commission and the Edmonds Theater.
In the city update, staff member Patrick Doherty updated the commission on the status of hiring additional support staff for approximately 40 hours per month. Interviews will be held in mid-February to fill the position. The Diversity Commission will also select a location for future meetings, with the construction work soon to begin at the Edmonds Senior Center. City staff have also began engagement with a diversity consultant to ensure all team members receive necessary awareness training.
The commission plans to hold a retreat in the spring, with dates to be determined, and is required to present an annual report to Edmonds City Council, which will be scheduled in May or June.
The next Diversity Grant cycle will open in March, with applications due on April 19 for projects in the second half of 2019.
Several diversity and inclusion activities and events are coming up in Edmonds, so check the web page for more information.
The Edmonds Diversity Commission typically holds its public meetings on the first Wednesday of every month (6- 8 p.m.) at the Edmonds Senior Center. The meetings will have to change locations once the Senior Center begins its demolition, so 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 www.edmondswa.gov/diversity-commission-home.html.
— Submitted by Maria Montalvo, Edmonds Diversity Commission