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A united front for diversity: Event kicks off discussion in Hastings

A couple hundred people attended a kick off event to discuss diversity, inclusion and equity in the community. Photo courtesy of City of Hastings

A couple hundred people attended the kickoff event to begin a discussion about diversity in the Hastings community April 29. The event is a collaborative effort between the Hastings Public School District and City of Hastings.

The event included information from a number of speakers and a group discussion through table talks in which attendees were asked to answer questions about diversity. A proclamation was made by the City and the School District and discussion continued with an ice cream social at the end of the event.

"We are having this community discussion tonight, not as a response to any kind of crisis, but rather, having our community to be proactive, to be transparent, sensitive to all who live within our great community here in Hastings," Mayor Paul Hicks said.

While the school district already offers a number of programs and initiatives geared toward equity and inclusion, Superintendent Tim Collins said the district is always looking for ways to improve. Whatever they are doing today, they want to continue to do better in the future.

Members of the city council and school board read the joint proclamation sharing their "common beliefs, aspirations and commitments to ensure that Hastings is a safe and caring community for all persons."

The school board adopted the proclamation at their April school board meeting. The proclamation will also be brought forward to the city council at an upcoming meeting.

Two questions were asked during the group discussion portion of the evening: what does a diverse community look like and meant to you and what will you do to help us get there? Each person had an opportunity to share their view in their small group. The results of the discussion will be compiled and used for future events and conversations.

More information about the initiative and future events can be found at www.hastingsmn.gov/equity.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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