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Letter: Why I am participating in diversity and inclusion conversations

To the editor:

When I learned about the community's vision of having a conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion I knew this was historic.

In this historic self-examination, I wanted my voice heard. As a citizen, I wanted to invite diverse voices and opinions to engage in this journey.

Civic engagement is the ultimate expression of Western democracy. Hastings has become an organic platform by which our values, knowledge, liberties, skills, ideas, attitudes and beliefs the population holds can be shared. A platform for rational and civic discourse. A discourse to envision a new form of community, to view our interrelated ideas, cultures, beliefs and relationships.

By participating, I have learned that our discussions take us far beyond the scope of diversity, equity and inclusion, thus recognizing that this conversation is not a panacea for all the things that this community needs. The discussions highlight the need for broader and more comprehensive examination of the following topics.

Topics:

• Leadership

• Education

• Community safety

• The criminal justice system

• Restorative justice

• Mental illness

• Community transportation

• Affordable housing

• Employment, underemployment and unemployment

• Affordable health care — access and cost

• LGBT

• Poverty

• White privilege

• Racism

Hastings is a diverse community, inclusive no. It has a lot of work to do, like all Minnesota communities. Much of that work is in and around the topics in the above list.

One of many objectives could be to create an environment where all people are treated equitably. Promote safety for all and reduce violence by all.

Other steps could be to lessen biases, harassment, prejudices, ideally to welcome all.

It's up to each and every Hastings resident to change and promote a welcoming environment. Will you join the journey?

Dozier Hunter

Hastings

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