May 12, 2021 - A City of Ann Arbor initiative is underway to help the city function in a more inclusive and equitable manner, ensuring there are opportunities for community members to have their voices heard and to be part of local decision making. This initiative, known as Ann Arbor Equitable Engagement, will help define what equity and equitable engagement mean to Ann Arborites and uncover appropriate pathways to bring a greater diversity of voices into local processes.
“In 2018, the city passed a One Community resolution aiming to advance racial equity in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County," said Ann Arbor City Administrator Tom Crawford. “To date, we haven't made as much progress as we've wanted. With this announcement, the city is ramping up its efforts to make tangible improvements in our community, which will be especially impactful for those who have been historically excluded from decision making."
Individuals interested in helping shape this work are invited to apply to serve on the new Ann Arbor Equitable Engagement Steering Committee. Commitment to serve on the steering committee is approximately three-four hours per month. Some committee member(s) may be compensated for their time on this effort, which will be prioritized based on expressed need. The application is available at www.a2gov.org/A2EquitableEngagement or by calling to request a copy at 734.794.6430, ext. 42590. Applications are due by Monday, June 7, 2021.
“The goal of this initiative is to recognize and overcome racism and prejudices that may have caused valuable, local perspectives to be disregarded from community conversations and decision-making processes," said Heather Seyfarth, Ann Arbor special projects manager and community engagement specialist. “The city is aware there are perspectives that aren't being heard and that not all members of our community are represented within the public processes. And that, ultimately, is what the committee will work to change."
The steering committee will work to unite community members and representatives of local organizations who are committed to advancing equity by bringing these groups together, working with the community to collaboratively co-define what equity means in Ann Arbor, and developing a series of community engagement policy, tools and practice recommendations that will ensure participation is accessible and welcoming. In addition, committee members will:
Play an active role in refining the city's community engagement strategy.
Serve as connectors to the community and organizations.
Ensure quality and delivery of outcomes.
Meet on a scheduled, regular basis, as agreed upon by committee members.
In terms of applications, the city is seeking the following qualities for the steering committee:
Diversity across race, ethnicity, gender, ability and sexual orientation.
Commitment to racial and social justice.
Experience and knowledge of equity and race issues.
Collaborative and willing to engage in shared exploration.
Humility and curiosity to continually learn and engage in self-reflection.
Resilience to engage in deep, challenging work.
More information, and a link to subscribe for future updates, can be found at www.a2gov.org/A2EquitableEngagement.
# # # # #