November 4, 2021
SERJ regular meeting
Why Ashland needs a DEI manager or a DEI Consultant
Rough Draft prepared by Emily Simon, on behalf of the SERJ (Social Equity and Racial Justice) commission:
The SERJ commission was established, amongst other purposes, to provide recommendations and support to the City Council regarding policies, measures and practices to foster racial and social equity and respectful intergroup relations.
In the ordinance creating the Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission, Task A listed under the Duties and Responsibilities of the SERJ Commission states:
“To serve as an advisory body to the city council … to define problems in City policies, or governance, and specify remedies … upon City Manager or City Council”
As the commission set out to tackle this task, we quickly determined that we did not know how or if a racial equity lens was being applied in city policies and practices, both internally within the city and in City Staff’s external work with the public. We therefore wrote a series of questions for Tina Grey who kindly forwarded us her answers click here.
It is obvious from reviewing these answers that the City of Ashland has had no experience in DEI within it’s work force. It is also beyond the scope of this commission, to devote the adequate time to fully educate the city on the appropriate policies needed and the implementation of those policies. We are a volunteer body. It is clear to us that a person who is trained in DEI is needed to guide the city in all phases of this work: from recognizing racial bias, to trainings to counter such bias, and also for policies that are in place for both city employees and the public in the event a complaint is made regarding racial bias.
Although the training that was conducted is a good step, a DEI manager should be available in a hands-on capacity to deal with, in addition to trainings, the needed policies and procedures to address racial bias.
As a city has made a commitment to address this issue, the city needs to devote sufficient resources to a person who can make the changes that Ashland will need to face up to and implement.