Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Equity Committee Meeting
September 20, 2021
Via Zoom and in VLCT Offices
Members Present: Co-Chair Elaine Wang, and Members Brian Carroll, Joy Dubin Grossman, Ellen Kaye, Marguerite Ladd, Phoebe Townsend, and Al Voegele. All attended virtually using Zoom.
Others Present: VLCT staff Ted Brady (attended in person), Karen Horn, Jessica Hill. VLCT Consultants Nikki Fuller and Dr. Wanda Heading-Grant.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the Chair. Elaine Wang called the meeting to order at 1:06p.m.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and deletions to the Agenda. No additions or deletions were made to the agenda.
Agenda Item #3: Approval of the August 23, 2021 Minutes. Elaine Wang asked that a spelling error be corrected. Al Voegele motioned to approve the minutes as amended and Joy Dubin Grossman seconded. Minutes were approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #4: Defining Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The committee debated on how best to define the terms diversity, equity and inclusion. The committee came to consensus on the following definitions. No committee action was formally taken.
Diversity: The full range of human and/or organizational differences and similarities, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, (dis)ability, physical and mental attributes, religion, values systems, national origin, political beliefs, parental/family status, and cultures.
Equity: Equity is ensuring 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 communities most affected by systemic oppression.
Inclusion: Inclusive environments are places in which any individual or group is and feels welcomed, respected, supported, valued, and able to fully participate as their authentic selves. An inclusive and welcoming culture embraces differences, offers respect in words and actions for all people, fosters a diversity of thought, ideas, perspectives, and values, strives to create balance in the face of power differences.
Agenda Item #5: Adopt Equity Committee Charter. Due to a clerical error by the Executive Director, the committee revisited the charter amendments discussed at the August 23rd meeting. The committee came to consensus on the following core values:
- We value diversity, equity, inclusion, and dignity for all.
- We strive for civic excellence and recognize that our differences make our communities stronger.
- We acknowledge that institutional and systemic racism exist and that we must be intentional in dismantling them.
- We promote a culture of respect and recognize that words and actions matter, and the absence of action and words also matter.
- Every municipality shares the responsibility of creating equitable and inclusive communities.
- Diversity, equity and inclusion should be embedded in all aspects of local government.
Elaine Wang asked the Executive Director to ensure that anytime equity and inclusion were mentioned, that the word diversity be added.
The committee intends to vote on the charter at their next meeting.
Agenda Item #6: Membership Discussion. Elaine Wang stated the committee would discuss at our next meeting due to time constraints.
Agenda Item #7: Town Fair. Members were asked to attend the virtual equity training on October 5, 2021.
Agenda Item #8: Other Business. Ted Brady asked the committee if it would be ok to change to a once-a-month meeting format beginning in October. No one objected. The committee will meet on Monday, October 18th from 1-2:30 p.m.
Elaine Wang adjourned the meeting at 2:31 p.m. without objection.