May 17, 2021 — Vea en español l This evening, at tonight’s meeting of the Wilsonville City Council, the Council confirmed the appointments of 13 community members recommended by Mayor Julie Fitzgerald to compose the City’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee.
Named to the committee were:
- To three-year terms (through 12/31/22):
Jay Edwards, Imran Haider, Eugenia Imel, Santiago Landazuri
- To two-year terms (through 12/31/23):
Fay Gyapong-Porter, Tracy Hester, Joni McNeil, Sudeep Taksali
- To one-year terms (through 12/31/24):
Malak El Manhawym, Luis Gonzalez, Camryn Lau, Erika Pham, Rudyane Rivera-Lindstrom
“Determining who to appoint was an incredibly challenging process because we had many more qualified, passionate applicants than we were able to seat,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m inspired and heartened by my conversations with so many residents who are committed to making Wilsonville a more inclusive community.”
Nearly half of the 45 candidates who applied for a seat on the committee participated in recent Zoom interviews with Fitzgerald, Councilor Charlotte Lehan and Bill de la Cruz, the City’s DEI consultant. Each appointed candidate was among 24 preferred candidates recommended by a 5-member review panel that included City staff and two volunteer DEI advocates from the community.
El Manhawym and Lau join the committee as its two designated youth representatives; both high school students are eligible to complete two consecutive one-year terms. Term lengths for the other appointees are staggered to ensure that all seats are not simultaneously vacant.
Before the end of June, the new appointees are to participate in a bias awareness training with de la Cruz, who will guide the initial work of the Committee when it begins meeting in July.
The DEI Committee was established by the City Council to identify and address systemic barriers to inclusion that exist within the City’s practices, processes, regulations, events and other initiatives.
The Committee is expected to meet monthly to establish the City’s DEI Strategy, and to begin identifying and addressing that which excludes or marginalizes anyone on any basis, including and not limited to their age, gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, religion or abilities.
Its work may seek to address recommendations brought forth by residents at a community listening session with the City Council in December 2020. These include:
- Increased Representation, Diversity on City Committees
- Consistent City communication to brand Wilsonville as an inclusive community
- More Inclusive Cultural Events, Celebrations & Holiday Recognitions
- Education to the Broader Community (how to address bias, micro-aggressions, etc.)
- Opportunities for DEI Advocates to Network and Work More Efficiently Together
By terms of the Committee’s charter, DEI Committee members may serve two consecutive three-year terms before a one-year hiatus is required. Partial terms do not count against this limit.
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