Bexley adopts diversity, equity and inclusion strategy

CHRIS BOURNEA
editorial@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

A diversity, equity and inclusion strategy has been added to Bexley's strategic plan.

In a 7-0 vote Aug. 11, Bexley City Council members approved the authorizing legislation, Resolution 06-20.

"The overall purpose was to amend the Bexley strategic plan by delineating a focused and strong strategy that partners with all community stakeholders, embraces diversity and cultivates a welcoming and inclusive Bexley," said Monique Lampke, the chair of council's judiciary and strategic committee who introduced Resolution 06-20.

According to the resolution, the strategy incorporates goals that the Bexley Diversity and Inclusion Collaborative outlined before disbanding in late 2019. The collaborative brought together representatives from the city, the Bexley Public Library, the Bexley City Schools, the Columbus School for Girls, St. Charles Preparatory School, Capital University and the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce to identify strategies to promote diversity in all aspects of the community.

The diversity, equity and inclusion strategy includes four primary goals:

* Welcoming new residents.

* Strengthening police-community relations.

* Creating an inclusive greater Bexley community.

* Reforming internal city policies and operations.

Lampke said drafting the strategy was a collaborative effort with Mayor Ben Kessler and fellow council members Matt Klingler and Jen Robinson.

Lampke said city officials also worked with Bexley Minority Parents Alliance president Bryan Drewry and residents Kate Misar, Jessica Willis and Larry Deatley Ellyson, who are members of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. DEI formed in May and includes former members of the Bexley Diversity and Inclusion Collaborative, said Stacy Grossman, who is DEI co-chair.

After council discussed Resolution 6-20 during the first two readings in June, the group worked over council's summer recess in July and early August to ensure that the language was as inclusive as possible, Grossman said.

"We were able to really have a lot of dedicated time in that working group, via Zoom, to hash out and strengthen a lot of the language that was proposed," she said. "It was a really positive experience that all of us appreciated."

"While there is a strong focus on race relations and interaction with government entities, especially after the murder of George Floyd, we have to remember that race is not the only attribute that is cause for discrimination and bias," Ellyson said. "The amendments in Bexley's strategic plan take steps to be more inclusive of all in our community, as well as our neighboring communities and anyone who passes through our city."

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