Southwest Metro cities prepare for equity summit
One day of focus is not going to eradicate all forms of prejudice in Tigard, Tualatin, Wilsonville, Lake Oswego and West Linn. But it might help members of those communities identify it when they see it, start to understand where it comes from and take the necessary first steps toward a more tolerant and equitable community.
At least, that's the hope behind the first Multi-City Equity Summit.
These cities, their corresponding school districts, the West Linn Alliance for Inclusive Community, Respond to Racism and LO for LOve have partnered to host the Equity Summit at Lake Oswego High School Saturday, Oct. 19.
"We're striving to make sure this isn't just a one-off event, but a continuing conversation not just of one city but a group of cities together, a group of school boards, different governmental agencies, saying, 'What are we doing and not doing? What do we need to change?" said West Linn City Councilor Jules Walters, who is on the planning committee for the summit.
Doug Erickson, who is also on the summit planning committee, said representatives from each agency have met every other month to discuss their vision for the event.
"Because this is the first time that this has ever happened for all of these communities, there's a lot of thinking of, who should the focus be towards? Who should the outreach be towards?" said Erickson, who is West Linn's library director.
Erickson said the cities and school districts have talked about how each entity deals with matters of equity, diversity and inclusion within their own jurisdictions. He will talk about equity training and how his library plans to promote diversity in literature.
Marvin Lynn, the dean of the College of Education at Portland State University and an expert on critical race theory, is scheduled to deliver a keynote address about race, multiculturalism, and intersectionality in Oregon.
Other featured speakers include assistant Clackamas County administrator Emmett Wheatfall; Paul Miller, an author and professor; Willamette University professor Emily Drew; Charu Nair, an equity consultant; Bill de la Cruz, a former equity and inclusion director for Denver Public Schools; Markisha Smith, the new director for the Portland Bureau of Equity and Human Rights; and others with expertise in different aspects of race, racism, diversity, equity and inclusion.
Wheatfall will give the closing remarks for the day, while the rest lead various breakout sessions.
According to the Lake Oswego School District, the event will be at capacity, with over 200 people already registered.
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