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Diversity & Equity Committee

DIVERSITY AND EQUITY COMMITTEE

Meets on the 3rd Monday at 6pm

Check the Agenda for ZOOM instructions and Location of Meeting

 

 

Affirmation Statement & Meeting Information

 

The Barre City Diversity and Equity Committee (D&E) meets every third Monday of the month at 6:00PM.  Current agendas and meeting minutes can be found at:  https://www.barrecity.org/agenda-and-minutes.html.

We dedicate ourselves to working for real, structural change to the ongoing dynamics within our community that have allowed racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of injustice and oppression to continue. We developed a list of definitions to create a common understanding for effective communication in our work that can be found by scrolling down the webpage.

We acknowledge that Barre City was developed on Sokoki Abenaki land, which the Western Abenaki nation never ceded, made treaty for, nor were they conquered. We aspire to create a space in our meetings that is inclusive, participatory, and equitable. We acknowledge we all come from different experiences and that our experiences may be affected by racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ableism, and many other systems of oppression. We are here to address equity within the systems of our city to inform the City Council of our findings.

We acknowledge that systemic inequities exist and do not debate the personal experiences of marginalized and underrepresented community members. With that in mind, it is important that we are thoughtful of the impact of our words on each other in this space.

 

Mission Statement

The first meeting of the D&E commenced on August 17, 2020. The committee was formed, through Barre City Resolution #2020-05, to examine the City’s studies, ordinances, and policies in order to identify barriers to equity and recommend solutions that support racial, cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic status, and other types of diversity.

 

Goals and Objectives

The March 2021 Barre City D&E Report provides the basics of the D&E’s mission, vision, definitions, and goals for the 2021 and beyond.

The 2021 Barre City D&E Annual Report includes workgroup goals and objectives including working group is tasks. Wherever a working group is not identified, the full committee will be charged with the task. Areas of concern to be considered include, but are not limited to, public spaces, mobility and transportation, heritage preservation, gentrification, climate change, resource consumption, and health equity.

The committee has developed four working groups designed to best accomplish our vision:

Community Needs Assessment (CNA), City Policy and Procedures Review (PPR), D&E Committee

Development (DED), and Community Education (CE).

Link to the 2021 Barre City D&E Report: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aRwYB8k-B-aLYpwUaJ9XfUvqFBs2oIRt/view?usp=sharing

 

Our Work and Accomplishments

Flag Policy

The D&E was asked by City Council to review and provide recommendation on changes to the Policy on Flag Displays policy and procedure to fly special flags. The committee provided their recommendation for the Policy on Flag Displays to the City Council, which was approved on November 24, 2020, with minimal changes. The D&E also developed an application for the flying of special flags in Barre City. Two months later a city councilor recommended limiting the type of flags to be flown, which was voted on during the Annual Barre City Meeting on March 2, 2021. The vote resulted in the decision for the city to fly only the City, State, United States, and the MIA/POW flags. The flag policy recommendations on policy and procedure are linked below.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/10308Cn81JDzA2sr4vNEh2OPnqQcQFOmO/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=103164002007470294268&rtpof=true&sd=true

 

Equity Assessment Tool

The Barre City Equity Assessment Tool for Policy and Budgets was closely modeled after the State of Vermont Policy & Budget Equity Impact Assessment Tool developed in 2020, and customized to meet the needs of Barre City.

The tool can be used by city staff and city committees. The D&E is available to train city stakeholders on using the tool.

Using this tool, through data-informed program design and careful consideration of compounded historical inequity, Barre City can craft budgetary and programmatic proposals and plans that align with the City and State’s values and meet individual and shared goals. This tool can also be used to review existing policy where needed to meet the goals of advancing equity for all those who live, work, play, and learn in the city.

Link to the September 2021 Council Presentation: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/9486fc2c8a504c9d95304c2197c69113

Link to Equity Assessment Tool: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WiartRtofAjDrdLA7LWv5pW9umJzv5sb/view?usp=sharing

 

Barre City Resolution Condemning Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

After the violent shootings in Georgia that targeted Asian-owned businesses and resulted in the murder of eight people, members of the D&E drafted a resolution of recognition and condemnation of abuses and violence against the AAPI community. The resolution was adopted by City Council on March 20, 2021.

Link to the AAPI resolution: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cxFvZYND4pVo6_P3V0R9VQ-go_yQbodL/view?usp=sharing

 

Definitions

The purpose of defining the key terms listed below is to create a common understanding for effective communication. We acknowledge that acronyms, though sometimes appropriate, are not a substitute for working to combat bias or invalidation in our language.

BIPOC: BIPOC is an acronym for “Black, Indigenous, and people of color”. 

Culture: A learned set of values, beliefs, assumptions, and behaviors shared by a group of people. For individuals and organizations alike, such cultural groups may be characterized by race, ethnicity, nationality, regional or local geography, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age or generation, educational background, professional background, family structure, socio and/or economic background, disability, and more. Sub-cultures exist within all cultures. Culture is traditionally considered distinct from an individual’s personal characteristics. 

Diversity: Describes all the ways that people differ, which encompasses the variation of social and cultural identities among people existing together. Bringing together diverse perspectives and experiences increases the quality of municipal decisions and actions. Supporting diverse communities and a diverse workforce means tapping into all of the skills, talents, and creativity available to us. No one person or group can represent diversity, though the subgroups of a larger cultural group represent diversity within that given group. A single individual who represents an underrepresented status might not be an accurate descriptor of diversity, but the mix of that individual along with individuals who represent other underrepresented statuses and majority statuses would constitute a diverse group. 

Equity: Identifying and removing structural barriers that have historically disadvantaged certain groups in order to ensure full participation of diverse communities in the life of the City, in order to create equitable access to opportunities and benefits to service recipients, whether residents, visitors, or employees. Equity can be defined as a means of achieving equality, and is realized when one’s identity (racial, ethnic, gender, ability, etc.) can no longer predict their failure or success. 

Inclusion: Supporting, positively engaging, respecting, and giving access to all regardless of an individuals’ background and circumstances, including race, color, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national and ethnic origin, socio-economic status, cultural and geographic background, veteran status, religious belief, age, disability, and other characteristics. Inclusion embraces diversity and provides a safe and unconditional sense of belonging. 

LGBTQ+: LGBTQ is an acronym for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning”. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The 'plus' is used to signify all gender identities and sexual orientations not specifically covered by the other five initials.

Racism: The marginalization and/or oppression of people of color in the United States based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people. 

Systemic/Structural Barriers: Obstacles that exclude groups or communities of people from full participation in, and the benefits of, social, economic, and political life. They may be hidden or unintentional, but are built into the way society works. Existing policies, practices, and procedures, as well as assumptions and stereotypes, reinforce these barriers. In the City, they may be present in housing, policing, education, hiring, physical access, and healthcare, to name a few, and may remain hidden to those who are unaffected by them.