Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Committee
The purpose of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEI Committee) is to increase cooperation, understanding, and dialogue among Longmeadow residents, commercial and institutional entities, and other stakeholders of diverse cultural, religious, socio-economic, racial and ethnic, and experiential backgrounds. The DEI Committee will work to welcome and promote inclusion throughout town for anyone who resides, works, or attends school or a faith community in Longmeadow, or otherwise visits Longmeadow for any reason.
Diversity refers to representation of populations that have been historically underrepresented in socially, politically, or economically powerful institutions and organizations. The groups include, but are not limited to:
- populations of color, such as African Americans and the Black community, the Latinx community, Hispanic community, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders;
- the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) communities;
- people with disabilities;
- other groups distinguished by their ethnicity, native or indigenous origin, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, appearance, language, accent, education, nationality, or age.
Equity is an approach based in fairness to ensuring everyone is given equal opportunity, and is differentiated from “equality.” Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. Equity prioritizes efforts to ensure that the most underserved and marginalized among us has as much of an opportunity to succeed as the well-served and well-resourced among us. By acknowledging and accounting for the various advantages and disadvantages that different people face, the DEI Committee works to ensure that every person has an equal opportunity to succeed.
Inclusion is the dynamic state of operating in which diversity is leveraged to create a healthy, high-performing community. Inclusion refers to the degree to which diverse individuals are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes within an organization or group. An inclusive environment ensures equitable access to resources and opportunities for all. It also enables individuals and groups to feel safe, respected, engaged, motivated, and valued for who they are and for their contributions toward community and social goals.
The DEI Committee shall be comprised of seven (7) voting members appointed by the Select Board terms that coincide with the Town of Longmeadow fiscal year (effective July 1) and expire on June 30. DEI Committee members shall serve for a term of three (3) years, except for the initial appointments to establish a staggered rotation of members.
Three (3) initial appointees shall serve for terms expiring June 30, 2025; two (2) appointees shall serve for a term expiring June 30, 2024; and two (2) appointees shall serve for terms expiring June 30, 2023. At its first meeting, and thereafter at its first meeting after the start of each new fiscal year, the DEI Committee shall conduct an organizational meeting to elect from its members a Chair, a Clerk, and (at its discretion) a Vice Chair.
Members shall not include sitting members of any elected Town board or committee. The Select Board shall strive to appoint a highly-qualified and diverse committee that centers the voices and perspectives of historically marginalized populations in Longmeadow including, but not limited to, people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, individuals with disabilities, and residents of subsidized housing, with at least a majority of committee members representing those communities. Additionally, the committee members should be representative of the diversity of age groups of Longmeadow residents, preferably with at least one youth position (18 years or younger) members and two senior (aged 65 years or older) positions.
A requirement for appointment shall be the individual’s interest in, and passion for, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Qualifications may include life experience and/or demonstrated expertise that the Select Board may deem relevant and beneficial to the Committee. Such expertise may include, by way of example only, demographic analysis, law, project management, social services/sciences, survey design/analysis, human resources, community engagement, communications, and organizational change.
If the DEI Committee determines that additional expertise is needed to support specific efforts, it may petition the Select Board for appointment of one or more non-voting members for a limited term. The DEI Committee may provide the Select Board with a recommendation and rationale to modify its structure or charge at any time.
The DEI Committee may offer the Select Board recommendations on topics both within and without the Select Board’s purview. Recommendations outside of the Select Board’s purview may be endorsed by the Board and/or provided to the relevant agency for informational purposes. Duties and responsibilities shall include:
- Gathering first-hand experiences in Longmeadow from historically disenfranchised and underrepresented populations;
- Providing training for committee members to self-examine and recognize their own experience with historically disenfranchised populations and unconscious bias;
- Facilitating discussions and education forums for Longmeadow residents, institutional managers, and employers about issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion;
- Identifying ways to promote awareness, engagement, and community building around diverse experiences and to create a more inclusive, welcoming community;
- Working in conjunction and in cooperation with other local and/or regional community, government, cultural, and faith groups that are addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in order to optimize momentum and use of resources;
- Providing observations and identifying areas of systemic racism in Longmeadow, and developing recommendations of steps to be taken as individuals, organizations, and as a community to combat racism and embrace greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in those areas;
- Developing strategies and tools to assess the current diversity, equity, and inclusion metrics in Longmeadow (through surveys or other fact-gathering means), working with the Select Board to develop and define goals related to bettering those metrics, and developing strategies to measure progress related to any identified goals;
- Delegating a committee member to serve as a liaison to any internal municipal DEI working group that may exist under the Town Manager’s purview;
- Assisting the Select Board in recruiting and selecting applicants for membership in all other appointed board and committees.
- Delegating a committee member to serve as a liaison with the School Committee in any DEI-related activities or conversations that they schedule, and/or to any DEI-focused subcommittee of the School Committee that may be formed.
- Periodically, and no less frequently than once every six months, the DEI Committee shall brief the School Committee on any events, campaigns, or programming that the DEI Committee is facilitating, and on any DEI-related data, accounts of experience, or issues relevant to the Longmeadow Public Schools and the School Committee’s purview that the DEI Committee has uncovered.
- Periodically, and no less frequently than once every six months, the DEI Committee shall brief the Select Board on progress made identifying obstacles toward achieving DEI goals in Longmeadow and shall make recommendations to address these obstacles.
- As they relate to the above identified areas of the Committee’s purview, recommendations may be related to community engagement and education; quality of life; public access to various amenities, assets, and services; the Town of Longmeadow’s public-facing policies, practices, procedures, budgets, Charter, General Bylaws and Zoning Bylaws, Town Meeting Warrant Articles; and other local issues the Committee identifies pertaining to residents’ and other community members/stakeholders’ experiences in Town. The Select Board may request that the DEI Committee provide specific recommendations on topics within the purview of the Board.
- Annually, the DEI Committee shall submit to the Select Board a written report with a summary of activities pursued over the previous fiscal year, identifying DEI-related SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based) goals for the Committee and Select Board to pursue and identify recommendations to achieve those goals in the upcoming fiscal year.
Adopted by the Longmeadow Select Board August 15, 2022.