Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board up and runningApr 01, 2021 02:09PM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton
Pictured L-R are Melarie Wheat, Tara Bradshaw and Melany Moras of Draper’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board. The group hosted their second donation drive, this one for the Navajo Nation. They collected nonperishable food and women’s hygiene products at City Hall during the month of March. (Photo courtesy Tara Bradshaw)
By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]
Draper’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board, established in October, has hit the ground running despite the pandemic. Their board meetings have been virtual, but the volunteer group has managed to pull off several activities already. Tara Bradshaw serves as chair.
Their first activity took place in December, just after the board was formed. The group collected hygiene items for refugees to aid them in the fight against COVID-19. They advertised the effort on Facebook and invited people to drop off donations at City Hall. “We put together around 50 kits of cleaning supplies to be donated to the Utah Refugee Connection,” Bradshaw said.
January’s focus centered on Black History Month. They sponsored a poster contest for children kindergarten through fifth-grade. Three winners were selected and awarded gift cards in addition to having their posters presented on social media.
The board’s March activities had two focuses. Through social media, they highlighted Draper businesses owned by women in honor of Women’s History Month. They also held another drive for donations, this one for Navajo Nation, to assist the organization known as Navajo Strong. “Navajo Nation has limited access to running water, so washing their hands is harder. Thirty to 40% don’t have access to running water so that’s why it (the coronavirus) spread so fast in their community, because they didn’t have the ability to wash their hands as often. We had an incredible show of donations from the community, so many we had to move most of it out of the lobby of City Hall and put it in a back room because there’s so much,” Bradshaw said.
Going forward, the board plans to highlight a different cultural group each month. They also plan quarterly (at minimum) donation drives. “We’re going to start having speaking engagements, so if anyone wants to have members speak to their organization, please reach out to us,” Bradshaw said.
What has traditionally been the city’s Arts & Crafts Festival during Mother’s Day weekend has been changed to an International Arts & Crafts Festival slated for Sept. 18, postponed because of the pandemic.
“We’ve got a lot planned for the International Arts & Crafts Festival including an educational tent with books for children and activities to learn about diverse cultures. We’re also going to have entertainment. We’re looking for multicultural performers as well as crafts designed by people of different races…it has to be something they’ve handcrafted themselves. We’re also taking applications for food booths or food trucks at the event,” Bradshaw said. More information can be found at www.draperutah.gov/932/Arts-Crafts-Festival.
The 12-member advisory board was chosen by Mayor Troy Walker after he and his assistant, Kellie Challburg, interviewed many candidates for this first of its kind board for the city. “We’re plowing a new field for Draper City. I’m going to start reaching out to other cities to see what’s working for them so we’re not re-inventing the wheel. It’s in its baby stages, but we’re starting to get stuff done,” Bradshaw said. “There’s one thing that is a common thread. We’re all concerned about how inclusion affects our mental health. We want to make sure our youth, including those who feel like they’re different…know where they can go to get help with their mental health.” The board will connect with the Mayor’s Youth Council in April to increase awareness about their mission.
Bradshaw is assisted by Ron Williams as vice-chair and Erin Seibel as secretary. Challburg serves as a liaison to the city. Three sub-committees have been formed within the board. They focus on business and community relations, education outreach, and events. Han Kim, Seibel and Shivam Shah are leading those committees.
“I see that Draper City really comes together and wants to help out and be inclusive. The majority of people want to reach out to their neighbor and get to know them, they want to volunteer or get involved. There’s a lot of enthusiasm, people who really care about their neighbor,” Bradshaw said.
The board’s meetings are open to the public and can be listened to through a link on the city’s website, both while they’re in progress and after the meetings have occurred.