As expected, the Athens-Clarke County Government has released a report on A Recommended Approach for Creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan for Athens‐Clarke County .
This came about after community members and advocates began making public incidents of discrimination happening in the County. Residents and community groups began advocating for the creation of an Athens Civil Rights Committee, or human relations commission. After nearly a year of pressure, the Clarke County Commission directed “the Office of the ACC Manager and the ACC Attorney to explore ways to create a more inclusive and welcoming community through the creation of a government‐appointed and operated citizen “human relations” committee, through partnering with an established local entity, or through some other mechanism. The goal of such exploration will be to recommend a framework which can best address claims of discrimination, whether through education, through training, through referral to other local, state, and/or federal resources, and/ or through some other means. The ACC Manager and/ or Attorney’s Office will present their findings and recommendations to the Mayor and Commission by no later than the end of FY17 (June 2017) for review and possible action.”
The 30 page document, written by County Manager Blaine Williams, touches on a lot, from history on discrimination nationally and locally to best practice inclusion plans in other cities.
From the Conclusion and Recommendation:
“Discrimination occurs in human society, which includes Athens‐Clarke County. Local citizens relay that discrimination today is most often subtle in nature, and creates a negative effect…There is a need locally for a thorough and frank assessment of the impact of discrimination in the community and its connection with equity and socio‐economic issues. This is a step which should be taken before creating a new Human Relations Commission or other body…it is recommended that the Mayor appoint a temporary (6‐12 month) task force of community members from across Athens‐Clarke County to work with staff from the Housing and Community Development Department and the Manager to create a draft scope for development of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan for the community. This task force will further work through the ultimate facilitation process.”
The Manager will prepare this recommendation in the form of an agenda item for Mayor and Commission consideration in the August/September 2017 cycle.