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Loveland Equity Diversity and Inclusion Board 9/27/2023

by Kevin Stearns


From the Larimer Government website: The role of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Board is to advise the Board of County Commissioners to ensure that equity, diversity, and inclusion are central to the ways the County structures services. The advisory board will review programs, policies, and initiatives and provide feedback and recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners on how to structure opportunities, outreach, or services so that all community members have access without regard to personal characteristics.


Meeting Summary*

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Board met to further refine the general focus and direction of the board into a strategy plan for 2024 to be presented to the board of commissioners. This was combined with the election of new officers for the advisory board who will oversee the implementation of this new plan.


Other Meeting Notes:

Developing the Strategic Plan

Comments from the board's August meeting were recorded and organized into four categories to serve as the foundation for creating a strategy plan that could ensure that every member on the board is making decisions and acting to support the board's overall vision.

  1. Actions and activities focused externally on the local community.

  2. Actions and activities focused internally within Larimer County.

  3. Intended outcomes.

  4. Organizational issues to look at later.

The board then divided into groups to discuss for about 30 minutes and then present their ideas, each focusing on a different component of the strategy plan.


Vision and Mission Group

The first group to present their ideas focused on the overall vision and mission of the board:

- Ensuring all Larimer County residents feel welcome in their own community.

- Provide guidance, support, resources, and direction to county officials and staff.

- Focusing on the health and well-being of residents.

- Create a safe space so others can be heard.

- Improving transparency.

The word “resident” was chosen over “citizen” and possibly including “visitor” would broaden the scope of who is included. The word “citizen” is seen by some groups and individuals as meaning “born here” and can be divisive. Also, there is no such thing as a citizen of a city or county. John Kefalas suggested the phrase, “Anyone who lives, works, or visits Larimer County.”


Community Group

The second group focused on the external community and suggested creating a channel for the public to let the board know of any complaints or compliments when interfacing with any county agency. The board has been hearing from various county departments, who put on their best face when presenting, and the board does not get to see or hear how these departments interface with the public. Though the board can invite guest speakers, bylaws prohibit taking public hearing during meetings. Public comments could be confused with public hearing.

Alma Vigo-Morales warned that if the board took complaints, they might be complaints of discrimination. Since discrimination is illegal, the board may not be able to handle that situation themselves. She also warned the board to be careful how they communicate to the community so as not to send the wrong message. Culture, language, and literacy have to be considered.


Internal Group

The third and final group to present focused on internal issues. They made several suggestions:

- Improving communication, such as putting an EDI statement on the county website.

- Repository online for meeting notes.

- Equality indicators on the website.

- Allow public comment / feedback.

- Examination of biases in policies and procedures.

- Groups who make presentations to the board should include what they want the board to do with that information.


The entire board appeared to be unanimous in agreeing with the suggestions made by all groups.

Local Events

Hillel Kazir brought up several events happening soon in Fort Collins:

- October 10th is Indigenous People's Day, and a change has already been approved to recognize more tribes that have historically settled in the area than just the most recent.

- On October 22nd, the Fort Collins Human Relations Commission is inviting people in the community who are doing DEI work to come and network with each other.

- On October 23-27th, Colorado State University is doing a DEI symposium. They have agreed to make this year's symposium community-wide wide and is open to anyone who wants to participate either in person or online.

Election of Officers Motion to put Lynn Adame as vice-chair and Laura MacWaters as chair of the EDI Board.

Motion passed unanimously.



Next Meeting: Wednesday, October 25, 2023 @ 6:00 p.m. Lake Loveland Meeting Room, 2nd Floor, 200 West Oak Street, Fort Collins




​Agency Website:

https://www.larimer.gov/boards/equity-diversity-and-inclusion-advisory-board

Date & Meeting Time:

October. 25, 2023; 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Members Present:

Lynn Adame, Fred Garcia, Hillel Katzir, Karina Ledezma, Laura MacWaters, Luis Montalvo, Savanah Overturf, Vishvesh Singh, Daysi Sweaney, Jelitza

Members Absent:

None

Others Present to Note:

John Kefalas, Alma Vigo-Morales, Samantha Driggers

*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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