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Hastings School District and City government embrace diversity and inclusion

A variety of community leaders, representatives and residents have been involved in ongoing conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion in Hastings. Photo courtesy of City of Hastings

HASTINGS — The Hastings Public School District and City of Hastings will host a kickoff event to expand a community-wide conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion on Sunday, April 29 from 6- 7:30 p.m. in the Hastings High School commons.

The event will include a joint resolution by the City Council and the School Board that articulates common beliefs, asspirations and commitments of the city and school district. Additional information will also be provided for upcoming engagement opportunities for citizens to get involved.

A group of community leaders and citizens started to engage in a dialog in November 2016 about diversity, equity and inclusion in Hastings. A variety of residents were brought into discussions to understand personal experiences, concerns, needs and aspirations for the Hastings community.

Mayor Paul Hicks introduced the initiative during his State of the City address in February.

"The faces of Hastings are changing. It is time we begin a community dialog on how we can become a more welcoming and inclusive community," he said. "We must realize that strength, opportunity, economic and otherwise, lies in our differences, not in our similarities."

Now, the community leaders are hoping to expand the conversation and facilitate community-wide learning opportunities to embrace cultural differences and commonalities throughout the city.

Mark Zuzek, principal of the Hastings Middle School, said the community is more diverse than people are aware, and growing rapidly.

"It is my hope that by coming together, our formal institutions, businesses, and residents can join in this social movement in Hastings to ensure a safe and welcoming community where we provide equitable access and celebrate our differences," Zuzek said.

Community leaders, business owners and residents are encouraged to attend the kickoff. Groups are asked to host a table by bringing six-to-eight people to the conversation. A table will be reserved for each group at no charge. Attendees are encouraged to register for the event at