Town of Fairhaven Announces “Belonging Committee” to
Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
August 26, 2021 - A new “Belonging Committee” to support Fairhaven’s efforts to become a welcoming town that recognizes diversity, pursues racial equity, and fosters inclusion has been announced and is recruiting members.
The Belonging Committee will strive to identify and promote activities designed to further efforts of the core values of diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and to advocate for the human and civil rights of all. To ensure clarity for all, the committee will use the following definitions:
Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, encompassing the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. While diversity is often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender, we embrace a broader definition of diversity that also includes age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. Our definition also includes diversity of thought: ideas, perspectives, and values. We also recognize that individuals affiliate with multiple identities.
Equity is the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions or systems, as well as in their distribution of resources. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society.
Inclusion is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. It’s important to note that while an inclusive group is by definition diverse, a diverse group isn’t always inclusive. Increasingly, recognition of unconscious or ‘implicit bias’ helps organizations to be deliberate about addressing issues of inclusivity.
The Committee will provide guidance to local governing bodies, municipal organizations, businesses, and residents on diversity-related issues, discourage prejudices and discrimination, and encourage unity in our community.
The first meeting of the committee will be held after the Select Board appoints the members. Agenda items will include the election of 7 voting members – ideally one from each precinct. The chair will be exempt from the precinct count and the school, Select Board, Police and Fire Departments will have advisory seats. All are welcomed to join an open meeting that will be held on the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm. Please submit your letters of interest to the Select Board at firstname.lastname@example.org by 4:00 pm. on Thursday, September 9, 2021