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Groups want city to reconsider diversity
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Dear Editor: Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams’ intentions regarding diversity were seriously misrepresented by fellow Covington City Council members during a recent planning retreat. According to her comments, the city needs a more diverse representation of its workforce. Any contracts awarded to companies doing work for the city also need to include provisions for a diverse workforce.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, our community has aligned the word "diverse" with race and gender only, and the meaning covers much more. This issue has caused much debate, conflict and confusion. Our communities are run by the people and for the people…all come from different family backgrounds, religions, age, financial standing, education, country, handicaps, health concerns, life preference, etc. This diversity is what makes a great community. We must take responsibility to include all of the differences our community is blessed enough to possess, in our hiring, awarding and electing.

We must hold our elected officials accountable for the opinions they debate and the decisions they make. It disturbs us to read at least two of our council made comments that in our opinion belittle the meaning of diversity and the intentions of one to benefit all during Ms. Williams presentation. Noted comments from Councilwoman Janet Goodman, were "I’m just as black as you are," and Councilman Mike Whatley’s comments: "It’s not our job to knock on doors" and "I’m not going to hire Joe to fill a position because he has a Mohawk." This narrow opinion of diversity is unacceptable from our leaders. As a body we would suggest similar diversity training that major corporations embrace for our city managers, employees and elected officials. Regardless of how many awards are bestowed upon this city, the education process must continue for the benefit of all and not the included few.

We are dedicated to holding our decision makers accountable in embracing diversity. Our recruiting practices must be broadened. Grants awarded to this city using "diverse" statistics on age, education, race, etc., to build or expand, must include a workforce that represents the citizens the city used to win it.