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Community Relations Commission welcomes input

In March 2021, the city of Worthington adopted a set of visioning statements that provide direction for what kind of city Worthington aims to become.

This visioning process was led by 13 residents appointed by City Council who volunteered countless hours to collect feedback from hundreds of residents and community stakeholders. Even though the process took place during the pandemic, 150 people participated in focus groups, 1,000 completed a survey and 3,000 engaged in some way on the visioning website. It is probably safe to say that the process was among the most comprehensive collections of community feedback in the city’s history.

Of the seven vision statements that were created, one became the focus of the Worthington Community Relations Commission: “Worthington is a Diverse and Equitable Community.”

Eddie Pauline,
Guest Columnist

This statement laid out the following actions to help achieve this vision:

n Create conditions that increase the diversity of our city to better reflect the racial and ethnic composition of our region.

n Proactively identify, evaluate, and address policies and practices that negatively affect underrepresented populations.

n Create opportunities and remove barriers for people from a wide range of ages, abilities, and income levels to live in our city.

n Implement policies and foster inclusive environments that increase diversity in public employment, business ownership and community leadership.

n Honor and celebrate our diversity with regular cultural events and multicultural education.

For the CRC it became obvious that this vision and supporting statements should guide our work. As we set priorities this year, we connected each of our tactics to the vision action statements.

Our CRC priorities include engaging with the Regional Inclusive housing initiative; participating in the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation process; encouraging the city to fly the Pride Flag at the municipal building during Pride week; strengthening ties with the faith community; a comprehensive review of the city’s zoning code and land use regulations; amending the city’s non-discrimination ordinance to include language from the CROWN Act; creating anti-Wage Theft legislation; consider Pay to Stay legislation; supporting of the Age Friendly Initiative; exploring more intergenerational programming; engaging more residents of all ages, identities, and backgrounds in city affairs; review city boards and commissions to better understand operations structure, appointment process, terms and to address the chronic challenge of engaging people of color; and maintaining collaborative regular programming with other city institutions.

Yes, it is an ambitious list but I am happy to report that some of these priorities are already being acted on by council and city staff. Pride flags flew downtown, we have collaborated with more organizations than ever, we are funding a “building inclusive communities” initiative, and entertaining Pay to Stay presentations at council.

Our neighbors and CRC members Chuck Fannin, Meg Kane, Nick Linkenhoker, Beth Mirmelstein, Shawna Moraille, Darnell Perkins, Maria Ramirez and Glennon Sweeney are working hard to get us closer to our vision, but we need your help. Recent events remind us that we are far from where we need to be.

We need to move from yard signs and Facebook posts to real action. You can see from our list of priorities that there is plenty to do along with things that we are not even thinking about yet.

You have an open invitation to get involved in the CRC and the programs and initiatives of other great organizations in the city that are working on things to make Worthington a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and welcoming community.

Visit the CRC page on the city of Worthington’s web site or email us at WCRC@worthington.org. We look forward to seeing you.

Eddie Pauline serves as chairman of the Worthington Community Relations Commission.

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