Inclusion, equity and diversity is goal for Dublin community task force

SARAH SOLE
ssole@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

Dublin City Manager Dana McDaniel said he's drafting legislation for City Council members on the makeup of a community task force, and he hopes to provide it at the July 27 council meeting or by early August.

The task force arose from a resolution, approved by council June 22, that pledges to combat injustice, inequity, intolerance, negative stereotyping and discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity or belief.

The resolution also included an initiative to set up an advisory committee for the chief of police. McDaniel said the group would consist of a diverse group of community representatives focused on dialogue about local policing.

"We believe they do a wonderful job," McDaniel said of Dublin's police department. Still, he said the time has come for a more formalized method of discussion. He said he also plans to bring a proposal for group membership in front of council members for approval.

Regarding the task force, McDaniel said he anticipates about a dozen members forming the group, with the mission to focus on people discussing concerns and ideas addressing inclusion, equity and diversity.

Whereas the city has many opportunities to receive input through various groups, it hasn't yet had a group solely focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice, McDaniel said.

He said he plans to involve Dublin City Schools representatives, as well as the city's business community and the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

Dublin schools Superintendent Todd Hoadley said social unrest was evident on a national level with the response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

It also exists on a local level, he said, as illustrated by the Instagram account @deardublinohio. Stories shared there from current and previous students showed the district needed to give additional time and focus to issues of diversity and racism.

"This is a community issue," he said. "This is not solely a school issue."

Hoadley said the district plans to focus on equity and inclusion this coming school year.

Benjamin Pachter, executive director of the Japan-America Society of Central Ohio, said the task force is an exciting initiative taken by the city.

Dublin has a great deal of diversity, but with that diversity comes challenges, Pachter said.

The Japanese population in Dublin represents nearly 5 percent of the community, but these residents typically stay in the city for only three to five years, he said.

"The city has always done a very good job of engaging and supporting the Japanese community," he said.

Pachter said he is curious to see who is represented in the conversations coming out of the task force, as well as any council recommendations that come out of the discussions and how they are acted upon.

He also said he's interested in seeing whether the initiative will lead to greater diversity representation on council.

The membership has historically represented females, but it's still predominantly white. Still, he said he's looking forward to seeing what the next steps will be.

"It's a very good first step," he said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah