Past Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Activities
Town Department/Community Organization DEI Collaborations
- Town/School Joint Diversity Task Force - In 2017, the Town and Public Schools created a joint diversity advisory task force which facilitated multiple community wide conversations on race in Lexington, sponsored an all-town read and discussion groups on White Fragility and sponsored forums for the community featuring municipal leaders and Race Equity professionals.
- In 2019 the Lexington Public schools added a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer.
- The Lexington Human Rights Committee facilitated its first annual “No Hate November” activities in November 2019, which included a diverse panel discussion on lived experiences related to discrimination and bias, as well as a family-friendly film screening of the movie “Wonder”
- Recognizing the impact to health outcomes and life expectancy, the Human Rights committee passed a resolution declaring racism a public health emergency earlier this year. That resolution is scheduled for an endorsement by the Board of Health.
- A partnership of municipal departments and resident organizations sponsored a community-wide viewing of the film “I Am Not a Racist, Am I” followed by a panel discussion with anti-bias professionals, and multiple small group facilitated conversations. Over 800 residents participated.
- A citizen-driven series of conversations on race, attended by a broad cross section of the community – including a large percentage of the high school through post-college aged residents, as well as the Select Board and School Committee.
- The Vision for Lexington Committee's next Town-wide survey will include questions related to issues of race, equity, and inclusion.
- Pride Month banners displayed in Town Center in June.
- January 2021, installation of Black History Project banners in the Center.
Town Work Toward Greater Equity in Housing
- The Town also has several pending initiatives to expand housing opportunities. These include the Town’s support of the quasi-municipal Lexington Housing Assistance Board (LexHAB) which builds and operates affordable rental housing throughout Lexington
- The Select Board’s initiative to amend Lexington’s existing Special Permit Residential Development zoning to create more affordable housing and greater diversity of housing types.
- Lexington also created the Lexington Housing Partnership, a coalition of Lexington groups advancing affordable housing in the Lexington community. The Lexington Housing Authority manages low-income housing rental programs through its several rental housing villages in Lexington.
- The Town will also be updating its Housing Production plan as part of the pending Comprehensive Plan update. We seek to pull all of these important but disparate efforts together into a comprehensive race equity plan to move the Town forward to become a more equitable home, employer, and place for business.
Human Services Department
- No Hate November - Human Rights Committee facilitated first annual “No Hate November” activities, November 2019, which included a panel discussion with a diverse panel on lived experiences related to discrimination and bias, as well as a family-friendly film screening of the movie Wonder and a craft activity following
- Black and Latinx Youth Virtual Support Group – facilitated by Sharon Gunda during the summer of months
- Layers of Belonging, Stories of Intersectionality Public Event – in partnership with LexPride, offered this performance based program on intersectionality and belonging. For more on the event, visit True Story Theater's website.
- Quarterly DEI Series – Human Services is developing a quarterly conversation series with the help of their MSW intern. To begin this fall.
Recreation & Community Programs Department
2019 Staff Trainings
Community Center – all staff quarterly meeting (Recreation, Human Services, CC evening/weekend staff)
- 90 minutes - Inclusion Awareness and Person First Language Training (led by Kate DeAngelis, CTRS)
- 90 minutes – QPR Training (led by Tony Serio)
- 90 minutes – Dementia Friends Training (led by Michelle Kelleher and Youville Outreach Coordinator)
- 90 minutes – Divers-abilities Training focus on awareness, customer service, to accommodate different needs (led by consultant Lisa Drennan)
Summer Staff Training
- 90 minutes – Diversity Training (led by LexPride with focus on sexual orientation/intro to different ways to identify) Attendees included Leadership Staff (approximately 12 seasonal staff)
- 90 minutes – Diverse-abilities Training on adapting and modifying programs specific to aquatics. Attendees included Aquatics Staff (approximately 40 staff)
- 2 hours – Special Education Staff trained 7 inclusion aides on adaptation specific to camp, clinic and program design and specific registration.
2020 Staff Trainings
- Melissa Battite, Recreation and Community Programs Director will participate in the 2020 NRPA Community Engagement Training (Oct – Dec) - The three-part workshop will address planning and implementing equitable community engagement strategies, focusing on issues related to power and privilege, and learning how systems have historically operated to get us where we are today and how we can do better.
2020 Public Programs
- Adult & Seniors - In collaboration with Human Services a virtual forum was held with community members. Prior to the forum a presentation educating the audience about inclusion and Therapeutic Recreation. After the presentation the audience was prompted with questions relating to the services provided currently within Lexington and what the community would like to see in the future.
- Youth, Teen, Young Adults A presentation regarding inclusion, specialized programs and Therapeutic Recreation will be held prior to the forum. Audience members will then be asked to participate in a forum and answer prompted questions related to inclusion and specialized programs in Lexington.
Cary Memorial Library
Staff Trainings & Policy Revisions 2018 – 2020
- Understanding Implicit Bias and Active bystander training – all staff trained during a regularly scheduled staff inservice (2018)
- The Privilege Walk training – all staff trained during a regularly scheduled staff inservice (2018)
- All new staff introduced with their pronouns, staff begin adding pronouns to signature lines and business cards (2019)
- Racial Justice readings - during COVID-19 Work from Home period, staff encouraged to incorporate racial justice readings as part of approved work from home activities
- Building a Diverse Library Collection workshops – multiple staff have attended workshops on this topic during the past two years
- Four staff attended Denver Public Library’s 3-day symposium “Advancing Racial Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace”
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access Audit Work
The Library has hired equity consultant Dr. Kandice Sumner to guide staff in a range of DEIA work beginning in the fall of 2020.
- All library management staff will participate in a base level examining personal bias/anti-racism training
- Staff DEIA group (approximately 20 staff have self-identified to be involved with this work) will spend several months examining library policies, hiring practices, collections, and programs through an equity lens. Further trainings for the entire library staff will be developed.
- The staff DEIA group will work with other community organizations to better inform key pieces of this work (including an Accessibility Audit of the library’s facility)
2020 Public Programs & Offerings
- Social Justice Story Time – created by Children’s Librarian Jae Johns
- Social Justice Book Club – facilitated by community member, Kat MacDonald
- Special Black Lives Matter edition of Cary Newsletter created by India Winslow
- Special PRIDE edition of Cary Library Newsletter created by Jae Johns, Kate Leppanen, and Jennifer Webb.
- Teen Book Club – Breaking Boundaries for grades 9-12
- Voting 101 virtual workshops – offered in both Hindi and Mandarin
- Social Justice Poetry – shared by Colorado Poet Lauriat Bobby LeFebre
Human Rights Committee
- Annual programs
- No Hate November
- Martin Luther King Jr. Community Conversation on Race (January)
- Race Amity Day (June)
- Co-sponsorship of:
- Viewing of the film ‘I’m Not Racist Am I?’
- LexPride Day
- Mother Language Day
- Dismantling Racism in Lexington (a course focusing on issues around racism and how experience/history shape views)
- Parents’ Academy
- Active Bystander Training
- Racism is a Public Health Crisis (PDF)
- Dyslexia Proclamation
- Created a diversity, equity, and inclusion form on the HRC web page website to get public feedback and perspective
- Streamlined process for reporting complaints to the HRC
- Working with Lexington Police Department on investigating hate incidents
- Working with the Lexington Public Schools on discipline disparity and other civil rights concerns
Town sponsored DEI staff training
- Hiring for Diversity training – an overview of best practices in hiring for Senior Managers. Outlined steps to help improve the diversity of the applicant pool for Town openings
- Layers of Belonging, Stories of Intersectionality Staff Event – in partnership with LexPRIDE. Training for managers on intersectionality and belonging.
- Best Practices for Developing and Retaining a Neurodiverse Workforce - comprehensive session is based on expertise pulled from recruitment and community management experience at a technology company, where over 75% of the employees report being on the autism spectrum