***This piece is part of our content presented at Inclusive City 2020. On Oct. 28, 2020, from the stage of the Madam Walker Legacy Center, we revealed plans to dismantle systemic racism in Central Indiana at Inclusive City 2020. Learn more about that event here.***
from Greg Hahn, board chair of CICF, and Marisol Sanchez, vice-chair of CICF board and upcoming chair in 2021
We’re happy to have so much to report about what’s already been done in the year and a half since we began this effort, but we know we have to keep going. We can’t rest. That is why today, we renew our promise to keep adding to the inclusive city we’re in the process of building. We will remain bold in our words and our actions, but we also will remain humble and collaborative in our approach. While we’ve been preparing for this work for over three years, we know we still have so much to learn and more trust to be built across our community.
We know that relationships are key to what is going to move and sustain this work. Listening to, learning from and honoring those with lived experiences in the areas that we are trying to change is paramount. This takes time and patience and we commit to that in order to be authentic. I want to acknowledge and publicly commend my board member colleagues at CICF, Hamilton County Community Foundation and Women’s Fund who have universally made this commitment. And, of course, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to every single staff member who works tirelessly and with incredible passion and commitment to the ultimate goal of dismantling systemic racism in our region.
We want everyone to know that our commitment to communities of color will remain strong —and as we indicated before, we were not stopping there. We are going to expand our reach and more fully engage the Latinx community—and other communities including the LGTBQ+, Asian American, Native American—in this work as well and these efforts have already begun. The Latinx population is one of the fastest-growing diverse populations in Indiana. With that is a growth of young, passionate leaders who, along with their families want to see our community thrive, who want to be engaged, and who call Central Indiana “home”. We need to find ways to be more intentional in including them in the conversation and providing opportunities so that together we can leverage diverse thought leadership and create a more inclusive and welcoming City. Unfortunately, Latinos are no strangers to stereotypes or misperceptions of what the Latino community really is. For instance, did you know there are over 22 Spanish-speaking countries in the world each with their own traditions, culture, and customs? While our language may unite us, there are many differences within our own diverse community. We pledge to create authentic relationships with the Latinx community by listening to, learning from, and engaging you in this work and better understand those differences, the needs, and the changes that need to occur. Our commitment is to be more intentional in these efforts to strengthen our collective voices and actions to effect positive change.
It’s extraordinarily important—even as we talk about all of the problems we need to solve, and the challenges we need to face—that we keep our vision, and the language we use to address it, positive—so that the next generation in Central Indiana, those who will inherit our legacy and benefit from our hard work, understand their value and their potential, and feel empowered to keep moving this journey forward.
UP NEXT: The Treasured – written and performed by Tatjana Rebelle