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Larimer County EDI Advisory Board - 10/25/23

by Kevin Stearns


See the full notes document here.*


View the meeting agenda.


Overview

The Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Advisory Board met without a full quorum to review information gathered for the Climate Smart and Future Ready Plan, a handout on microaggressions, and to vote on the board's Work Plan. Due to absences, though, the Work Plan discussion was delayed until the next meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving, so the board decided to reschedule the next meeting for better attendance. they also decided to reschedule the December meeting to avoid absences close to Christmas Day.


Climate Smart and Future Ready Plan

Larimer County has hired Lotus Engineering and Sustainability as a consultant to research parts of the community in the county which may have equity concerns. They gathered feedback at events and online from more than 70 people about issues concerning development, waste, mobility, transit, water, agriculture, fire management, and information accessibility. Questions are focused on concerns such as affordability, accessibility, the urban/rural divide, quality of life, and disproportionate impact or resilience of communities.


These Engagement Results were presented by Heidi Pruess, the Climate Smart and Sustainability Manager for Larimer County. The Climate Smart and Future Ready plan is currently composed of 18 strategies and over 40 tactics, according to Pruess, who calls it “a very large plan”. It is working with private partners such as Platte River Power Authority and Odell Brewery as well as nonprofits, the local government and CSU. Its 5-year implementation period will incorporate a lot more data collection. The plan itself will not be finalized until next spring.


John Kefalas asked about the clarity of the questions being asked, and recommended that future engagement follow the Colorado Plain Language Guide. Hillel Katzir also recommended getting data on what languages are most needed. Fred Garcia noted that it's important that people understand any acronyms that are used in the questions.


The Board Discusses Various Ongoing Projects

Fred Garcia shared a handout on microaggressions for the board to review. It included information about micro insults and micro validations. He discussed how race, ethnicity, gender, or other factors can determine how intelligent you look or influence whether or not you're seen as a criminal. He also mentioned how three times in his life he's been asked, “How long since your family crossed the border?” His family has lived in the United States for centuries. Many other board members had examples of microaggressions they have dealt with throughout their lives. Jody Shadduck-McNally asked if this is something the board would like to explore further or have more training about. The board expressed interest.


The board briefly discussed the upcoming Proclamation of Homelessness Awareness. Kefalas suggested an addition to mention kids transferring out of foster care and LGBT+ youth who are at a higher risk of homelessness. The board also noticed the use of the phrase “we encourage all citizens'' and suggested removing the word “citizen”. Laurie Kadrich immediately corrected the mistake, saying “There will never be a proclamation that has 'citizens' in it that gets to the board.” She added, “"We provide services to beyond who's a citizen here.``


Karina Ledezma is helping to plan an event on Nov. 18 at the Methodist Church on 533 Grand Ave., in Loveland, called “The Latin Dream''. The church intends to invite an immigration lawyer to present on what's going on for the local Latinx community, and to provide them immigration resources. She has also started a small youth community for children who have fallen through the cracks. It provides a place to have a home cooked meal on Wednesdays at Karina’s sister's house. She and her sister are hoping to grow the number of youths from the current 10 and move it to a larger location.

Questions to Consider

  • With attendance low just before the holidays and interrupted during the holidays, what is the timeline for the EDI Advisory Board's Work Plan?

  • How are these issues affecting other boards?

  • What exactly is in the Proclamation of Homelessness Awareness?

  • The Climate Smart and Future Ready plan is one of many technocratic solutions to problems the county faces which rely on more and more data collection. Are considerations being made for potential issues such as the privacy of vulnerable communities?

Next meeting TBD.


*Citizen Observers further the commitment of the League of Women Voters to its principle of Citizens Right to Know, however, we are not acting as journalists. Omissions and errors are possible. It is assumed that users of this information are responsible for their own fact-checking. This could include contacting a government clerk, conversing with an elected official or staff, and/or asking us to speak to the Observer who attended.

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