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Lansing's new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board is preparing to meet for the first time

Image of the building where Lansing's City Hall is located in downtown. The building is multiple stories high and has tinted blue-green windows. 'Lansing City Hall' is etched on a side of the building.
Flickr - MI SHPO
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Several months ago, the Lansing City Council approved the formation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board.

The City of Lansing’s new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board is preparing to meet for the first time. The board will discuss ways to prevent discrimination and bias.

Several months ago, the Lansing City Council approved the formation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board. The board’s creation was part of a list of recommendations from the Mayor’s Racial Justice and Equity Alliance.

Randy Watkins was a member of that alliance since 2021 and will now be serving on the new board. He says he’s looking forward to making Lansing a more welcoming place for those who have been historically excluded.

“There are groups that have been excluded from providing input,” he said. “And hopefully one of the things that this council, this new board, will do is provide a voice for those who have felt that they've been ignored.”

Watkins plans to bring to the board his experience working in the Mayor’s Racial Justice and Equity Alliance. He says while he was in the alliance, they worked on making the city’s job application process more equitable.

“There are positions now within the city that no longer require a driver’s license,” he said. “And the reason that’s important is because when we had that requirement we were excluding visually impaired individuals who were applying for city positions.”

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor says the council's approval of the board formalizes the work of the Mayor’s Racial Justice and Equity Alliance, A group that Schor formed in 2021 following community feedback.

“The Racial Justice and Equity Alliance was a temporary board created to evaluate and come up with an action plan, which is what they did,” Schor said.

He says the new diversity and inclusion board will have more authority than the Mayor’s Racial Justice and Equity Alliance.

According to Schor, the board will be assisted by the city’s diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Guadalupe Ayala.

“So, she will staff it and work with them on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion,” he added.

Along with Watkins, Kendall O’Connor, Raquel Sparkman and Emily Sorroche have been appointed to the board. Schor says the group will officially meet once City Council approves the addition of three more members to the board. He expects approval in the coming weeks.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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