The Elk Grove City Council on July 10 approved a resolution dissolving the city’s Multicultural Committee, and establishing the Elk Grove Diversity and Inclusion Commission.
For the past seven years, the Multicultural Committee has been responsible for planning the city’s annual Multicultural Festival.
The committee has also educated the community about the community’s cultural diversity, advised the council on best practices for conducting outreach to Elk Grove’s ethnic communities and faith-based organizations, and provided guidance to the City Council regarding issues that impact multicultural communities.
The council also supported city staff’s recommendation to retain Multicultural Committee members who wish to serve on the commission and assume the new roles and responsibilities.
As a result of a bigoted note left at an Old Town Elk Grove business in 2017, the community began a discussion regarding diversity and inclusion in Elk Grove. That discussion led to the idea to form the Elk Grove Diversity and Inclusion Commission.
In a report, city staff defined diversity as the “entire range of human differences that includes, but is not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, religious affiliation, and national origin.”
“Inclusion puts the concept of diversity into action by creating an environment of involvement, respect, and connection,” the report continued.
The commission will function as a resource for the community and city government by contributing education with the aim to improve understanding and celebrate the city’s diversity.
It would provide details pertaining to Elk Grove’s overall diversity, and periodically assist city departments with events and activities.
Commissioners will serve as ambassadors who engage with the community and gather feedback to help eliminate all forms of discrimination.
The commission will also advise the City Council on practices the city can adopt to advance the goals of recognizing diversity and promoting inclusion.
Before the council vote, Gurjatinder Randhawa spoke in favor of establishing the new commission. He has served as a member of the Multicultural Committee for the past two years.
“We may have different religions, different languages, different color of skin, but we all belong to one human race,” he said. “Together, we can do great things.
“There is no religion better than love, no color better than color of happiness and no language better than the language of compassion.
“At last, (the new commission) is good for all of our community and Elk Grove city.”
Council Member Darren Suen said he was pleased to support a commission that was willing “to do more.”
“Our council received a lot of criticism in that the only thing that people saw (from the Multicultural Committee) was planning of the (Multicultural) Festival,” he said. “While that’s a very important event, I think having you all be willing to become ambassadors for us and an extension of this council, having more people out there promoting diversity and inclusion, I think is a good thing for the city. I think it continues to set the right tone.”