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Five southwest metro cities including West Linn will come together to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion

PMG FILE PHOTO - The City of West Linn is partnering with its neighbors to host the Multi-City Equity Summit. One day of focus is not going to eradicate all forms of prejudice in West Linn, Wilsonville, Lake Oswego, Tualatin and Tigard.

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.

West Linn Library Director Doug Erickson, who also is on the 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?" Erickson said.

The library director said the cities and school districts have talked about how each entity deals with matters of equity, diversity and inclusion within their own jurisdictions.

Erickson, along with Mayor Russ Axelrod and City Manager Eileen Stein, will talk at the summit about how the City trains its managers on equity. Erickson also said he will talk about how the 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; Lake Oswego's Paul Miller, an author and professor; Willamette University professor Emily Drew; Charu Nair, an equity consultant; former Director of Equity and Inclusion for Denver Public Schools Bill de la Cruz; Markisha Smith, the director for the Bureau of Equity and Human Rights at the City of Portland and other experts on race, racism, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Wheatfall will give the closing remarks, 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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