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Equitable Engagement Initiative

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​​​Over​vie​​wAnn Arbor Equitable Engagement logo

This project aims to confront our community's history with racism and biases that have caused important perspectives to be marginalized from community conversations and decision-making processes and move the City of Ann Arbor forward with community engagement policies, tools, and practices that help Ann Arbor become the inclusive and just community it desires to be. Project goals are to develop:

  1. A deeper understanding of what equity and equitable engagement means and could look like in Ann Arbor.  

  2. Policy recommendations  for Council consideration and adoption . 

  3. Staff guidelines based on the policy recommendations. 

  4. A set of tools that helps ensure the city's Community Engagement Toolkit is equity-focused and city staff is practicing equitable engagement.  ​

Ste​​​ering Committee

As an initial step, a 30-person steering committee has been formed, comprised of community members and representatives of organizations in the area working to advance equity. The Steering Committee Members include:

  • Noorunnissa Abbasi, Member of the Ann Arbor Youth Gender and Sexuality Alliance, Educator, Volunteer with Family Support and Family Selection Committees at the Huron Valley Habitat for Humanity and with Childcare Network.

  • Regina Addington, Ann Arbor Public Schools Employee, Advocate for Education, Equity and Community Engagement.

  • Devon Akmon, Director of MSU Museum and Science Gallery Detroit, Former Director of the Arab American National Museum, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advocate.

  • Charissa Bass, Ann Arbor Public School District Educator, Equity Team Co-lead, Sponsor of Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution Program. 

  • Briana Carpenter, Avalon Housing, University of Michigan New Leaders in African Centered Social Work Scholar and MSW Student, as well as Experience in DEI Group Facilitation and Curriculum Development.

  • Diana Cass, Commissioner on the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission, EEO Diversity and Inclusion Specialist for the Department of Veteran Affairs, Vice President of the Jim Toy Community Center, LGBTQ Advocate.

  • Ashley Chang, DEI Driver at Michigan Medicine Plastic Surgery Clinic. 

  • Dandan Chen, Former Educator from China, Avalon Housing, Community Member.

  • Laura Custodio, Educator, Community Member, Socioeconomic Diversity Advocate.

  • Deborah Dean-Ware, Lead Pastor, Church of the Good Shepherd United Church of Christ, Serving a Multi-racial, LBTGQ+ Affirming, Level 1 Sanctuary Congregation.

  • Ebbin Dotson, University of Michigan Health Management and Policy Professor, U-M Health Equity Leadership Pipeline Collaborative Leader Working to Develop and Train Michigan Healthcare Workers on Unconscious and Implicit Bias to Address the State’s Training Mandate.

  • Amtheyst Floyd, Advocate for Race, Gender and Socioeconomic Marginalized Groups, Involved with Friends In Deed and Champions of Change Leadership Cohort.

  • Daisy Freitas, (MSC Finance) Michigan Medicine employee and Interpreter for Swahili-speaking Refugees with a Refugee Settlement Program. First-generation Immigrant from Kenya. 

  • Lewis A. Gossage, Commissioner on the Ann Arbor Commission on Disability Issues, Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, Advocate for People with Disabilities​

  • Jamila James, Community Member and DEI Advocate.

  • Donna Rich Kaplowitz, Educator and Co-Director of The Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan, and co-author of Race Dialogues: A Facilitator’s Guide to Tackling the Elephant in the Classroom. (2019: Teacher’s College Press).

  • Maryam Khodadost, Health system strategy consultant with previous experience supporting Michigan Medicine’s Anti-Racism Oversight Committee and health equity planning. 

  • Chloe Root, Ann Arbor Public Schools teacher, DEI Advocate.

  • Bilal Saeed, Chair of AFC Ann Arbor, Steering C ommittee Member of WMBK, Board Member of Hart & TayTrain Foundation, Board Member of The Mighty Oak Project, Founder of Anti Racist Soccer Club, Co-founder of Community Kicks.

  • Isha Savi, Youth Member, Advocate for Homeless Individuals.

  • Ace Sickels, Advocate for DEI, including youth and disability community support.

  • Juliet Slutzker, National Wildlife Federation, Advocate and Collaborator for Community Engagement, Equity and Justice.

  • Kathleen Toplin, A Former Program Manager for the Washtenaw County Senior Nutrition Program (S.N.P.), Advocate for DEI in government and the workplace.

  • Andre Watson, Community Member, DEI Advocate.

  • Matt Weber, Leader with Grounded Solutions Network, a National Nonprofit Organization Helping Build More Inclusive Communities, Focused on Racial Equity and Community Engagement.

  • Terra Webster, Ann Arbor Public Schools Educator, Administrator and DEI Professional Development Leader, Current Ph.D. Fellow at EMU (Critical Race Theory, Social Justice Scholar).

  • Jacquelyn West, Community Member and DEI Advocate.

  • Arthur L. Williams, Ann Arbor Rotary Club Anti-racism Advocate and Civil Rights Activist; 46 years Experience as an Educator, Including Teaching at Middle and Secondary Levels; High School Dean of Students, Assistant Principal and Principal; BA Political Science, Western Illinois University; MA Educational Administration and Supervision Roosevelt University; Ph.D. Educational Administration and Policy Studies, Northwestern University.

  • Wendy Woods, Member of the Ann Arbor (MI) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, NAACP, the Ann Arbor Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Second Baptist Church, previously served on the Ann Arbor City Council, Planning Commission, Environmental Commission and other City Boards and Commissions.

The Steering Committee serves as representatives of the community and advises on the development and refinement of meaningful equity-focused community engagement policies, practices, and tools by sharing insights, opinions, ideas, and feedback with city staff.  View meeting materials and work of the Steering Committee.

The steering committee has met for orientation and also convened for their first official meeting Sept. 1, 2021. View the Sept. 1 meeting​ ​​online; use​ the passcode: [email protected]=DZ* 

Coming Nex​​​t 

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Questio​ns? Contact: 

[email protected] | 734.794.6430 ext. 42590​