Golden seeks community input on racial equity plan

Plan outlines four goals, several suggestions to implement

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When it comes to improving racial equity, diversity and inclusion in Golden, there are tangible steps the whole community should take.

Public documents and other information should be available to those who don’t speak English or have different abilities. City boards and commissions should have a more inclusive recruiting process to ensure diversity among their members. The city should host training about Golden’s history, structural racism and implicit bias.

These are only a few suggestions that consultant firm MIG outlined in a Sept. 29 meeting with Golden city staff and community members. Now, the community has a chance to provide feedback on how to achieve these ideas.

Over the past year, consultants for the city have been drafting a Racial Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan. It outlines several goals and strategies that Golden can implement over the next several years.

Officials have asked for community members to comment on this draft REDI Action Plan before it’s finalized in November. It’s available on the city’s website in English and Spanish.

Carly Lorentz, assistant city manager, said the online link to comment on the document will be open until Oct. 10.

After that, city staff and a subcommittee of City Councilors JJ Trout and Rob Reed will provide additional feedback before the plan's presented to City Council on Nov. 1.

Council will determine the timeline for implementation in the coming months, but Lorentz said staff plans to request some items related to the REDI Action Plan in the 2023 budget.

Building the action plan

In June 2021, the city approved a $100,000 contract with MIG, with work lasting through this November.

Over the last year, MIG consultants met with stakeholders around the community, hosted four focus groups with residents and young people, and conducted a survey among community members.

Based on all that input, MIG outlined four goals for the city’s REDI Action Plan. They are:

  • Create a culture of inclusion and belonging throughout the community of Golden;
  • Increase access to services and resources for diverse community members;
  • Foster an organizational culture and environment within the City of Golden that’s committed to racial equity, diversity and inclusion; and
  • Expand economic opportunities for diverse businesses.

The firm also outlined dozens of strategies toward these goals, along with a general implementation plan.

Kate Welty, MIG’s director of management & policy services, recommended the city create a REDI leadership role. This could be an existing staff position, or Golden could create a new job. Either way, the person in this role should have appropriate REDI training and report directly to the city manager.

Additionally, the city should also have an REDI implementation team comprised of city officials and community members. Welty said the city as an organization and the community should have a shared understanding and growth.

“Don’t keep those groups in silos,” she continued.

Finally, Welty and her colleagues recommended the City of Golden conduct a workplace environmental assessment, incorporate the REDI Action Plan into the city’s strategic action plan, and create an implementation plan with clear metrics for success.

“Implementation is hard,” Welty said. “There’s this notion that we get done with a beautiful product, and by virtue of its existence, everything changes.”

She emphasized how the action plan should have steps for implementation built into it, so that “the thing that you dreamed of is (built into) the product.”

Incorporating community feedback

Of those community members who attended the meeting, many offered up suggestions on how to apply these goals to the broader community.

Kathy Smith hoped to see more city documents translated into Spanish and a more inclusive participation system at city meetings.

She said Golden should allow people to submit online public comment, as many people can’t attend evening meetings in-person but want to submit verbal comments. The city could also offer interpreters, adding, “We’re not really offering those things.”

Kim Mangle also suggested that those outside the city organization, such as nonprofits, could also implement the training on Golden’s history, structural racism and implicit bias.

When describing how other entities have anonymized their hiring process, City Councilor Don Cameron wondered whether Golden could use that not only for staff members but also city boards and commissions.

Saoirse Charis-Graves, a former city councilor, liked MIG’s “brave space conversation guidelines,” and wanted to use those in her daily life. She also asked how residents can participate in this process as well.

Welty said Golden community members should continue discussing REDI, collaborating, and asking others to read through and comment on the draft action plan.

The draft plan, available in both English and Spanish, and the link to make comments on the plan are all available at guidinggolden.com/striving-for-racial-equity. The deadline for comment on the draft plan is Oct. 10.

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