From a new storytelling project to a tribal land statement, Edmonds Diversity Commission co-chairs Pat Valle and Anabel Hovig led the commission in a wide-ranging discussion about a number of different topics during last week’s monthly meeting.
For starters, the Diversity Commission has launched its story-telling project — I Am Edmonds. The Diversity Commission hopes to collect stories from a variety of Edmonds’ residents regarding their backgrounds and family histories to highlight how our differences make us stronger as a community. Communication regarding the project have been produced in English, Russian, Korean, Vietnamese and Spanish (with Chinese coming soon). The Facebook page for submissions will be live on Friday, June 14.
Former commissioner and current School Board member Diana White spoke during the public comment period about the native land acknowledgement and encouraged the commission to adopt the statement and gave sample language to use “We are on the traditional homelands to the Coast Salish Tribes. We pay our respects to Elders past and present…..”. The City Council is considering a similar statement and it is on the agenda for discussion during the June 11 Planning, Public Safety, and Personnel Committee. The Diversity Commission decided to use the statement submitted by Diana White at the beginning of every commission meeting and formal event such as World Café, Youth Forum, and Film Series.
Progress updates by commission sub-groups included:
- Notification of Edmonds businesses regarding captioning of televisions for the hearing impaired. The Mayor has agreed to send out a letter to local business owners that will remind business owners of the federal law that requires any business to turn on captions if asked by a patron.
- Commissioners met with representatives from Edmonds Downtown Alliance/Ed! to propose a partnership for store window decals that encourage inclusivity and identify Edmonds as a welcoming community. Ed! is interested and will present at its next meeting. There was discussion on what this actually means to the business and citizens, so the sub-group will put together more information after the Ed! meeting and bring it back to the commission meeting in August with a progress report.
- The 2018-19 Diversity Film Series ended in May, and commissioners and staff are researching movies for the next film series to begin in the fall. Giovanne Schachere, Diversity Commission Coordinator, is leading the effort to identify films, including contacting the Seattle International Film Festival and the North West Film Forum, with the intent of showing a mix of documentaries and feature films. My Edmonds News will be a new sponsor for the 2019-20 series, along with Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door and the Edmonds Theater.
- The Diversity Commission will again walk in the 4th of July Parade and welcomes participation by members of the Edmonds community.
- Other commissions within the City, specifically the Arts and Youth Commissions, have expressed interest in partnering with Diversity Commission. The Youth Commission could partner on Youth Forum in 2020, and the Arts Commission could potentially partner on sponsorship of a movie. Commission Chair Pat Valle will reach out to both commissions, along with representatives from the partnerships sub-group, and will report progress at August meeting.
The Edmonds Diversity Commission typically holds its public meetings on the first Wednesday of every month (6-8 p.m.) at Edmonds City Hall 3rd-floor Brackett Room. 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