Whitehall embraces diversity and re-commits to inclusion

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Despite the challenges of the past 18 months, the story of Whitehall’s comeback continues on strong.

As our community progresses, we face a number of changes including new services and programs, new businesses, new housing and often new neighbors.

As we look to the future and embrace these changes, I encourage each of us to reflect on how we treat and welcome each other as equal members of a growing community, be it the way. from which we receive new neighbors, develop relationships with passing acquaintances or continue to foster long-standing friendships.

Something that makes Whitehall unique is the rich diversity that exists here, with members of our community coming from all walks of life, representing a range of racial, cultural, religious, gender and gender identities. More than most of the suburban areas of central Ohio, we truly are a melting pot, and I believe with all my heart that is to our credit.

Yet despite our long-standing diversity, I also know that re-engaging in embracing other members of the community is something we can all do better. That’s part of why I introduced, and Whitehall City Council passed, resolution 010-2021 last month, which states:

“… We (the city) fully support the diversity, equity and inclusion of all people; affirming all ages, socio-economic or professional status, ancestry, color, disability, gender identities or expressions, genetics, viral status, military or veteran status, national origins, housing or immigration status, races, religions, sex, (and) sexual orientation … “

No matter how hospitable and inclusive we may think we are, we know we have work to do to move beyond tolerance towards acceptance, especially those who may appear to be different from us a lot. one way or another.

There are a number of things that remind us that we can do better this time of year – from Pride Month through June 17, to the recent anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. And overall, we continue to face the defining impact of the intolerance towards members of our Asian community that has emerged in recent months.

How do we move forward? How to do better?

Start small like the city did with the visual display of the Pride Month crosswalk on Yearling Road or our promotion of how to participate in the June 15th celebrations.

Start small by welcoming a new neighbor with an invitation to your next barbecue.

Start small by having your next family dinner about a new culture or religion that you don’t yet know.

As you re-commit to thinking about inclusion, the city re-commits to the broader ideals set forth in Resolution 010-2021, whether through an ongoing review of our policies and procedures. , continuous training of staff or the promotion of inclusive housing policies.

As we collectively work to embrace novelty and change in our community, I remember the words of George Bernard Shaw: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. “

Kim Maggard is Mayor of Whitehall.

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