In communities across America and beyond, important conversations, events, and demonstrations are taking place calling for social justice and equity. The Board of Trustee’s commitment is to go beyond a written statement of support. As a result, several Community Conversations are being facilitated here in Erie to provide needed resources and training to help our constituents, as leaders, champions, and sources of strength in our community.
Below are topics, speakers and panelists, and events to continue the community conversation to stop racial injustice, and to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Conversation - Response to George Floyd's Death
On June 11, 2020 the Town hosted a virtual Community Conversation moderated by Town resident Justin Brooks in response to George Floyd’s death and the resulting public outcry around the world for action to prevent similar injustices.
That conversation provided an opportunity for Town residents to share their perspectives, questions and suggestions. The following Saturday, June 13, over 400 people, including the entire Board of Trustees, Police Chief Stewart and Town Administrator Malcolm Fleming participated in the Being Better Neighbors March organized by Justin Brooks and other community members. Following those events, the Board has taken the following actions:
- During the Board’s June 16 Study Session, the Board discussed what actions the Town should take to stop racial injustice and promote diversity, equity and inclusion in Erie, and to continue the Community Conversation.
- Among the actions the Board agreed to take was to form a Community Task Force to review the Erie Police Department’s Directives and Protocols (the operational level policies approved by the Police Chief to guide the Department’s staff in their work). On June 26th the Town started advertising for volunteers for the Task Force; on August 11th the Board appointed 9 members to the Task Force; and on August 13 the Task Force held its first meeting.
- The Board also agreed to form a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Board, and on August 10th, the Town began soliciting applications for volunteers to serve on that Advisory Board. The deadline for applications was Friday, August 21. The Board of Trustees will appoint the founding Advisory Board members in September.
Community Conversation - How to be Inclusive
On September 10, the Board of Trustees hosted an interactive webinar with LaTonya J. Pegues, known as “The Unconscious Bias Trainer”. In this open-to-the-public forum, Ms. Pegues discussed strategies and best practices on ‘How to be Inclusive’. At the conclusion of the structured training a Community Conversation followed with the opportunity to discuss issues and ask questions.
About the Presenter
After working in the aerospace industry in low-temperature physics and satellite engineering, Pegues founded BOAZ Enterprises in Los Angeles, CA, now based in Austin, Texas. She is a strong believer in community involvement and economic empowerment.
Pegues is the founder and CEO of BOAZ Enterprises, a training, consulting, communications, and marketing firm. She has provided training at the 2019 International City/County Management Association Conference, the Texas City Management Association Conference, as a keynote speaker at South by Southwest, and for clients across the globe. Pegues is a frequent trainer in youth STEM programs, a mentor in the Young Women of Destiny program, and is an Austin Chapter NAACP Community Service Award winner.
She has served as a Metro Ambassador in the Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority Metro Ambassador program, as a visiting professor in the National Urban League Black Executive Exchange Program, sits on the University of Texas Club Ambassador’s Council, and is a member of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Advisory Board.
She hosts a weekly Unconscious Bias Trainer blog and frequent podcasts. Follow her on social media @theUBtrainer or visit www.theUBtrainer.com.
Community Conversation - Bullying
Bullying (both at school and on-line) is a serious problem, with about 20% of students age 12-18 experiencing bullying nationwide. Each October, as part of National Bullying Prevention Month, individuals from around the nation unite with the powerful message that bullying should never be a part of childhood.
To support these national efforts, and to provide resources and tools specific to Erie parents and guardians, Town staff have coordinated with community members and representatives from the schools, and considered recommendations in the Community Action Toolkit developed by Stopbullying.gov.