Diversity. Every time I say the word, I see an uncomfortableness immediately sink in. I understand the discomfort, but as someone committed to this community, I believe the topic of diversity requires a deeper conversation from all of us and greater leadership from our elected officials to assist with that conversation.
We need to talk — with our agreements and disagreements; our different lived experiences and different access to resources. A real conversation that includes issues of race and the experiences of minority populations in Iowa City, and serious conversations about how we move forward as a community to integrate our changing demographics in a way that is equitable and fair — from policing to housing to employment. But diversity is not only about race.
A commitment to diversity requires we move beyond the tunnel vision some of our leaders seem to have on downtown projects. There is a strong tendency to speak about the downtown as the only area worthy of attention and investment. While it is a vital part of the Iowa City community, other parts of the city are starving for help, assistance, guidance, or at least some focus. We have to look at an economic development plan that considers all of Iowa City.
A commitment to diversity speaks to the way community leaders should interact with the community. We need different opinions to provide us with alternative perspectives regarding important city issues. We need more community input. My campaign has been built on soliciting input from the people of Iowa City and a wide spectrum of views about City politics. I have also made it clear that I cannot know all the answers, but I will ask our intelligent and creative community for input and support.
Iowa City is an amazing community. We have strong institutions, like the public library, schools, and the non-profit sector. We have a rich history of being a leader in Iowa and being the first at many things. Let’s continue that legacy to address our challenges ahead.
I am asking for your vote to not only incorporate our changing diversity in a way that makes Iowa City’s wonderful opportunities equally accessible to everyone, but also to promote true diversity of thought in our community’s decision-making processes and outcomes.
l Comments: KB4council@gmail.com