Inclusion must be at the heart of everything the City does. Not just as a buzzword – but as a way of life. Inclusion means people of all kinds living and working together.
Our society and our City are still far from true racial equality. Hundreds of years of slavery and oppression, paired with discriminatory hiring practices have left governments with employee demographics that are unrepresentative of the larger population.
We see this not only in our City Hall staff, but in the workforce in general. At the University, in our engineering firms, in our schools, people of color make up a disproportionately low percent of the workforce.
I believe strongly that it is our City government’s responsibility to lead on this issue. Unfortunately, State law currently requires the City to hire civil servants who score the highest on tests and have the most years of experience, and because of historical prejudices, these individuals are less likely to be people of color.
To address this, the Workforce Diversity Commitee is doing good work actively recruiting people of color to apply to civil service jobs. The Committee also has representation on the search teams for each department head, where the City has more flexibility and doesn’t need to hire based exclusively on test scores.
As Mayor I would continue to support the work the City has done so far, and personally reach out to leaders of color and encourage them to apply to Civil service jobs with the City.
We also need to make sure we’re not sheltering our young people from these issues. Our youth programs must engage our young people in perhaps difficult conversations about racism, sexism, and hetero-sexism.
The City of Ithaca can encourage this by:
- Continuing to support the crucial work of the Workforce Diversity Committee
- Lead by example. Continue to support Talking Circles on race and racism within the city
- Ensure our youth programs are engaging our young people on sensitive issues like racism, sexism, and hetero-centrism.
In the coming month’s the campaign will be seeking input on each and every issue before the city. We are eager to use this input to inform our platform. Check back regularly for updates and if you’d like to speak with Svante about any of these issues please contact us here.