City Council Questionnaire
The WCIA survey found that two-thirds of residents acknowledge that incidents of racism, harassment and discrimination have occurred in Wyoming and only one-third of respondents think they have been dealt with appropriately. If you were elected to City Council, what would you do to address that perceived gap?
I am eager to hear the report from the Mayor’s taskforce on diversity and inclusion and I anticipate supporting those recommendations and working to enact them during my second term on council if I’m re-elected. I also hope to keep pressure on our city manager to ensure that our police receive regular training on overcoming bias and I will continue to ask him to look for more diverse candidates when hiring new city employees.
Unfortunately, racism, harassment, and discrimination occurs in Wyoming, and I’ve had friends share their personal experiences of discrimination. These stories make me feel extremely sad, and I want to be part of creating a better future. We need to have a community where everyone feels safe, respected, and included. If I am elected to City Council, I will start by listening – I want to hear about any incident that occurs and how it impacted the people involved. When an issue involves a City event or a City employee, I will personally follow up to make sure the situation is resolved. Ideally all parties would meet so that real people take the place of biases, and we grow in empathy and community.
Gathering insights from residents; still studying the viewpoints among residents before giving anyone a a blanket answer; have now spoken 1-to-1 with about 550 Wyoming residents on 37 streets to understand their diverse viewpoints
I believe a key approach to preventing such incidents is creating awareness and proactively educating the people of our community though the various means available to the City, including the Wyoming Diversity and Inclusion task force. I would also make sure a continuing program providing appropriate training addressing racism, harassment and discrimination is provided to the services that interact with the residents of Wyoming.
It is unfortunate that residents feel this way. As a neighbor, I am someone that others can trust to talk to about situations like this and strategize how to work together to resolve it. As a member of City Council, I would implement strategies to help residents identify when they encounter a situation of racism, harassment and discrimination and what to do. I recently worked with the Oxford Lane Library to bring “Bystander Intervention Training” to the Oxford community as a part of my involvement in the Asian, Asian-American Faculty & Staff Association. I believe that opportunities like these can lead to combat incidents of racism, harrassment and discrimination.
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce just shared its recommendations with city council. I believe the great strength of their effort was asking to begin data gathering and tracking so staff can be rewarded in annual reviews/raises for doing an excellent job at providing top service to all residents. Such tracking should also show any bias on the job and be dealt with appropriately.
Improving recruitment to increase the diversity of the volunteers on our commissions is also another means of bringing a range of people together around shared, common goals, and I hope, through more inclusion, decrease the commonality of discriminatory behavior.
Now, the more complex matter is bias among neighbors. We know it exists. We are not an island somehow spared from the shadow of racism. I believe our police are working on ways to deal with calls that seem motivated by profiling and how to re-educate callers. It’s a good step but is unlikely to change a resident’s heart. I’ve been speaking with faith leaders about ways to create events that allow for civil, open exchange of ideas among diverse residents to begin modeling being open to others from different backgrounds.