Hudson City Hall

HUDSON — The city of Hudson is creating a new diversity committee to help advocate for cultural awareness within the community. 

The council approved the creation of the committee at its regular meeting on July 19. 

The committee’s mission will be to ensure the city is “an open, inclusive, and diverse place to live, work, and visit.” The committee will be made up of nine members, with council members and the mayor each appointing a member, as well as two at-large appointments. 

Hudson is not alone in its effort to address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. The Star-Observer spoke with three cities that have created similar committees. 

Burlington, Wisconsin 

Mayor’s Task Force on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Population: 10,847

Burlington’s task force on racial equity, diversity and inclusion was created by Mayor Jeannie Hefty with assistance from a consultant hired by the city. 

The taskforce comprises about 24 people with a range of beliefs, Hefty said. Balance is important, Hefty said, as well as the guidance from the consultant. 

The consultant was hired at the beginning of the process to help guide and lead it. 

Following the killing of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake, Hefty said the community didn’t know how to react. As in other cities across the country, she said, it’s being challenged to face these issues of diversity and racial equity. 

“The goal is to discuss issues head-on and make Burlington a stronger community,” Hefty said. 

Creating awareness, providing information and educating the community will bring that strength, Hefty said. 

“You get some people also say, ‘We don’t have a problem. You know, this is ridiculous, we don’t have a problem,’” Hefty said. “And to say Burlington does not have facets of racism, discrimination and harassment is not factual. We do have some so we need to address it.”  

The taskforce held its first meeting in May. It will focus on an appreciative inquiry process, a strengths-based approach to organization change that looks at appreciating what is, envisioning what could be and designing and constructing an action plan for what will be. 

Cedarburg, Wisconsin 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force

Population: 11,628 

Cedarburg began its committee about a year ago, City Administrator Mikko Hilvo said. The eight-person committee serves as a resource for the common council on items related to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

The committee is made up of people with existing experience with diversity initiatives, including a teacher, local faith leader and organization leaders. 

“It’s a diverse group of people with diverse backgrounds so that they can give some insight to some of the things that they’re seeing in their various roles in our community and how it can have positive change,” Hilvo said. “And that’s what the committee is about.” 

The group makes recommendations to the council. In the past the group has hosted a film event and community conversation that looked at diversity on a larger scale, as well as a peace in the park event to bring groups together and create a positive atmosphere for discussion, Hilvo said. 

The committee meets once a month, and Hilvo said it will be a long-term effort. 

“The committee has been extremely helpful to our community as we address diversity, equity and inclusion in our community,” Hilvo said. “So I would say it’s been a great committee to have, and for the mayor and myself to be able to get some help from that committee as we look at some of those things that are going on.” 

Red Wing, Minnesota 

Policy and Practice Project

Population: 16,338

Red Wing’s multi-year Policy and Practice project started in 2020 in an effort to make Red Wing a more sustainable, healthy, accessible, resilient and equitable community. 

The project includes a 12-person advisory team. Members were chosen from a pool of nearly 60 applications and nominations based on the top choice of council members and the mayor. 

The project’s purpose is to identify, examine and improve policies and practices that may have a negative effect on residents, especially residents of color. 

The city and its council has prioritized working toward racial justice following the murder of Floyd, acknowledging that inequities of all kinds exist across society. 

The advisory team meets once a month to discuss recommendations on policies and practice. 

The team brought a group of recommendations to the council earlier this year. The recommendations focused on responding to sexual assault, and included ensuring law enforcement officers are appropriately trained to interview survivors, ensuring survivors have adequete choices in how and when they report and promoting trust between law enforcement and local advocates.

The advisory team will bring more recommendations in August. Upcoming recommendations have a focus on strengthening neighborhoods, improving government engagement and lifting up local leaders of diverse backgrounds. The recommendations include making community events more welcoming, creating an African American heritage and culture event and more. 

 

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