By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – After weeks of consideration and deliberation, the Board of Selectmen formally established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force at its August 11 Board meeting. As such the task at hand is to now fill the Task Force which will address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the community. The time frame for this is expected to be 12 months.
Discussions began in June when Selectman John Lebeaux emphatically suggested the formation of a task force.
“… I’m happy with trying to do something as right as we can, than to do nothing,” he said at that time.
The Task Force shall be composed of no more than 30 members and “be selected to reflect diverse backgrounds, experience, and thinking across our community,” according to the its charge.
The Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Board of Health, Council on Aging and Commission on Disabilities will be invited to appoint one member from their Boards and Committees to serve on the task force. Remaining members will be appointed by the Board of Selectmen.
Once formed, the Task Force will carry out the charge which includes:
- Examine and evaluate existing policies and procedures currently in place in town related to diversity, equity and inclusion;
- Offer opportunities for extensive community engagement via a variety of means including but not limited to interviews, public listening sessions, surveys, programs and social media;
- Identify potential areas for improvement based on relevant local, state and national research;
- Determine best practices;
- Provide quarterly written updates to the Board of Selectmen highlighting work done and progress made;
- Submit a written report detailing the findings and recommendations of the committee to the Board of Selectmen within 12 months from the creation of the committee.
The Board is seeking applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and professions but applicants should have some knowledge and experience with issues of diversity and inclusion and diversity training; personal knowledge and perspectives as members of underrepresented and or marginalized groups; demonstrated ability to listen to and acknowledge different viewpoints and demonstrated ability to discuss difficult issues and different perspectives in a respectful way.
For more information, visit https://shrewsburyma.gov/956/Diversity-Equity-and-Inclusion-Task-Forc. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 4:30 p.m.