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City/CU Subcommittee on Inclusiveness & Diversity

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CU/City Oversight Group

Subcommittee on Inclusiveness and Diversity

  Mission the Subcommittee on Inclusiveness and Diversity (SID)

 The mission of SID is to contribute to improving the social climate of the Boulder community to ensure that all residents and visitors feel welcomed. This subcommittee will encourage an ongoing exchange of ideas and help inform the community of the effects of bias as a factor in safety, access to basic needs, opportunity and respectful interaction among community residents.

 The Subcommittee is to be comprised of people representing various aspects of the Boulder community including city government, county government, the University of Colorado, Naropa University, Boulder Valley School District, law enforcement, human services agencies, members of the community including students and others who may be typically underrepresented in planning efforts. Subcommittee members will meet to exchange information, clarify viewpoints, and develop common perspectives and goals for community-wide bias education, prevention and response strategies.

 A major goal of the Subcommittee is to increase public awareness of the current social climate in Boulder . Some residents and visitors feel unwelcome and even unsafe in our community. Efforts to improve the social environment are doomed to fail if there is no general recognition that a problem exists. Therefore, a major goal of the subcommittee will be to increase public awareness of bias motivated incidents and other negative behaviors that may go unrecognized by the general community, and to increase recognition of the effects such behaviors have on many residents.

 A second goal of the Subcommittee will be to develop and implement strategies to reduce the incidence of bias motivated incidents over time.

 A third goal of the SID will be to develop a more formal coordinated response to bias motivated incidents, potentially involving law enforcement, and governmental and community human services agencies.

  SID’s First Task: Community Forum On Responses to Bias Motivated Incidents

 In light of crimes investigated as bias motivated and a feeling among some members of the community that they are not safe, a community forum on bias motivated crimes could help inform the community of the nature of bias motivated crime, current laws governing prosecution, police procedures for processing bias motivated crimes, and governmental and community networks to assist victims. This would be a natural progression from the 2006 community forum held by the city for policy development.

 The purpose of this forum is three-fold:

  •  To provide information to the community regarding the types of bias motivated incidents that occur and the effects that they have on their victims. This may involve members of the community relating personal experiences of several forms of bias
  •  To provide information to the community regarding policies and ordinances in force regarding bias motivated incidents at the state and local governmental level, and at educational institution. Special emphasis could be placed on Boulder ’s new sentence enhancement ordinance – what crimes are covered; how it is prosecuted, etc.
  • To receive input from members of the public on other ideas or perspectives they may have on bias motivated incidents.  

 

Ideally, this could be held on Sept. 30, in conjunction with Safe Day events planned by Boulder Pride and Boulder Community United. This timing would also coincide with the start of classes for CU and Naropa, thus welcoming students as members of the community.

Background

  • During summer 2005, in response to several incidents of bias in the community, the Boulder Department of Housing and Human Services assembled a team of approximately 30 individuals from organizations historically involved with discrimination. This team, originally called Community United Against Hate (CUAH) had as its goal the development of policy and program recommendations designed to increase public awareness of and respond to bias motivated incidents. Three recommendations were presented to the Human Relations Commission (HRC) in fall 2005 and forwarded to Council.
  • After consideration of the recommendations by the HRC, the mission of CUAH as a city-sponsored committee was completed. However, many members of the committee continued to meet as a community group. The committee changed its name to Boulder Community United (BCU) in winter 2005.
  • In January 2006, a public forum jointly sponsored by the City Council Community Sustainability Goal Committee and the HRC convened to discuss the recommendations. The purpose of this forum was to garner public input on the recommendations and to hear other ideas that the public may have had concerning bias motivated incidents.
  • The anti-bias recommendations of the HRC were brought to City Council on May 16, 2006 . Council approved three items:

      -     a partial funding of a community-sponsored anti-bias hotline;

      -     a city anti-bias policy; and

      -     development by the City Attorney of an ordinance on sentence enhancement for bias motivated crimes.

  • In January 2007, Council approved an ordinance for sentence enhancement for bias motivated crimes.
  • On March 20, 2007, Council was presented with two ideas from the community for events: 

(1) declaration of a Safe Day in Boulder, with events to be held on the Pearl Street Mall on a weekend in April

(2) a city-sponsored community forum as a first step in ongoing efforts to increase community awareness of the issues faced by “people of color, people of different religions and ethnicities, the LGBTQI community” and others who “live in fear of being themselves and of being harmed.” (Planners subsequently postponed holding Safe Day until after the summer.) Additionally, Council directed staff to develop longer term, city-sponsored efforts.

  •  On April 17, 2007 , Council directed staff to explore with the CU/City Oversight Group the possibility of establishing a subcommittee to take a more “community approach” to working on anti-bias issues.
  • At a May 10, 2007 meeting, there was general support at the CU/City Oversight Group meeting for convening a subcommittee as a means of supporting a community forum and to reinforce relationships and find new connections that bring together community members to address inclusiveness and diversity.

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