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The City Journals

Mayor hopes city can learn lessons of diversity and inclusiveness from an advisory board

Oct 12, 2020 11:55AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

Draper Mayor Troy Walker and his assistant, Kellie Challburg, spent several days interviewing applicants for the city’s new Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board. Nine appointees to the advisory board will be announced in October. (Mimi Darley Dutton/City Journals)

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

Witnessing the national movement toward inclusivity and equality, Draper Mayor Troy Walker presented the idea for a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board at the Aug. 18 city council meeting. The council unanimously approved the idea, the city advertised for applicants, and interviews were conducted to choose nine members for the advisory board. 

Walker told the city council he hopes it will be, “A committee to lead substantive discussions…to change our thinking and paradigms and to see the world from perspectives other than our own. We’re not as diverse a community as others, but we can certainly learn.”

Walker envisions an advisory board made up of people who have experience with diversity or have experienced issues involving it, including people of different races, religions, those with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, minorities and marginalized groups. 

Councilmember Fred Lowry said, “Ignorance can sometimes end up with unintended consequences, and it will require us to reach out.” 

Councilmember Tasha Lowery commented, “The composition of the board is critical.” 

Walker’s goals for the board are twofold:

  1. To host one or two educational discussions per year, one geared toward teenagers and the other toward adults, to talk about issues that are important to people of other races and cultures.
  2. To host a festival or culturally diverse party with food and booths, offering a chance to contemplate culture, race, diversity and inclusion. “All the things that make a better city,” Walker said.

The mayor hopes this board will advise the council, himself and city staff on issues of diversity. “I’m hoping it’s a place to go and talk about these issues. I don’t want to make it a full-time job for anyone, I just want them to plan two to three things and do it well, make it meaningful. I want them to plan an event or come up with a program that people want to keep doing, that’s what I’m hoping for,” Walker said. 

The mayor and his assistant, Kellie Challburg, conducted the interviews. They hope to announce the new board members in mid-October. Both Challburg and Walker said they were very impressed with the people who applied, making it difficult to pick the final nine.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for our city to explore the issues of our time. The more people we have discussing it, hopefully we can be a part of solving problems that people have and be positive and productive,” Walker said. “Wherever people need a voice, I’d like to give them a voice.”