Agendas and Minutes

Social Equity and Racial Justice Advisory Committee (View All)

Social Justice and Racial Justice Advisory Committee

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Social Equity and Racial Justice Committee

December 7, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.

Meeting Video

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please email . Notification 72 hours prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to the meeting (28 CFR 35.102-35.104 ADA Title 1).

Remote Meeting via Zoom
1. Simon called the meeting to order at 5:00Attendance: Simon, Yamaguchi, Geraghty, Houston, Seltzer (staff liaison), DuQuenne (council liaison), Dahle (council liaison)
Absent: none
Guests: SERJ applicants, Allison Mendel, John Tyler, Neeta Singh

2. Yamaguchi read the Land Acknowledgement and Simon read the Labor Acknowledgement 

3. M/S approval of June minutes Yamaguchi/Geraghty, motion passes unanimously.
M/S approval of September minutes Houston/Yamaguchi, motion passes unanimously.
M/S approval of November minutes Geraghty/Houston, motion passes unanimously.
4. Public Input: none 

5. Welcome and Introductions
Simon welcomed the new SERJ applicants and invited each to introduce themselves.
  • Allison Mendel is a retired attorney from Alaska and have lived in Ashland for five years. She did a lot of civil rights work and was the plaintiff attorney in the same-sex marriage lawsuit against the State of Alaska.
  • John Tyler is a retired attorney and has lived in Ashland since 2009.  He has been educating himself about anti-racism and would like to see some action on how to mitigate racism in Ashland/
  • Neeta Singh has lived in Ashland for 21 years. She owns two businesses and feels she understands this community and has been involved in SOU International Festival for several years.
 6. DEI Training
  • Geraghty announced the opportunity for joint training with AAUW to be conducted by Common Ground Conversation.  The cost is $3500 for the half day training.  AAUW will pay two thirds of the cost ($2,333) and SERJ would pay one third of the cost ($1,166). The training will occur during the first quarter of 2024 and the date will be determined by the availability of Common Ground.
  • Simon announced a second DEI training opportunity with Anyania Muse, former SERJ member and currently the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Oregon Shakespear Festival. Muse has conducted similar training in her career.The cost is $1000 for two sessions to be conducted during the SERJ January meeting and either at the February meeting or the March meeting.
The group is eager for both sessions to occur and discussed the challenge of the funding.Currently there is approximately $1600 available for training, which was a contribution from Southern Oregon Travel. DuQuenne will reach out to Southern Oregon Travel to determine if it has additional funds available for SERJ.The group agreed that it would use the current funds for the DEI training with Muse and seek additional funding to cover the Common Ground Conversation training with Mike and Emily Greene.
General will follow up with AAUW and Simon will follow up with Muse. Seltzer noted that she will need an invoice from Muse.
Simon/Yamaguchi moved to approve the expenditure of $1000 for DEI training with Muse, motion passes unanimously.
7. BIAS Victim Reporting
Simon spoke about the recent hate crimes toward the Jewish community in Ashland and stressed the importance of victims reporting hate crimes to the Oregon Department of Justice Bias and Hate Crime Hotline. She asks how SERJ can get the word out about the Hotline. Mendel, Houston, Yamaguchi, Simon and Dahl volunteered to help get the work.Seltzer will post a news item on the website about the Hotline.
8. Update from Council Liaisons
  • Duquenne noted that the celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Day will occur at the Ashland Armory on Oak Street on Monday, January 15, 2024. She asked for volunteer to possible sell MLK t-shrts.Singh, Tyler, Mendle, Yamaguchi and Geraghty volunteered to help with the event.
  •  Seltzer informed the group that the City Council will review the Action Plans submitted by the City Advisory Committees at its study session on Monday, December 18. Each committee will speak briefly (less than five minutes) about its adopted Action Plan for 2024. Simon will speak on behalf of SERJ. Following the discussion is Commission/Committee Appreciation Event.Committee members are invited to attend; Duquenne will forward the invitation to the four SERJ applicants.
9. Indigineous People's Day
Houston gave a brief update of the events of Indigenous People’s Day held at SOU in early October.
10. Listening Session
  • Geraghty presented her concept for the Listening Sessions approved by SERJ as part of its 2024 Action Plan.The sessions will likely start later in the spring and she asked for SERJ volunteers to help with those sessions.Mendle, Tyler and Houston volunteered.Houston noted the importance of paying the people asked to lead the sessions.She suggested seeking a grant, possible the Oregon Community Foundation, and will work with Geraghty to identify other funding opportunities.
11. Adjourn
The meeting adjourned at 6:40 p.m.

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