Writer: Joey Garrand
2 min read May 2021 — Mayor Jim Kenney recently named Nefertiri Sickout as the city’s first head of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which also includes the Office of LGBT Affairs and the Office for People with Disabilities.
Diversity, inclusion, and equity was a significant topic of discussion among the leaders Invest: spoke with for the Invest: Philadelphia 2021 publication, including those at higher educational institutions.
Here are what some of these leaders in Philadelphia shared with Invest: regarding their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity:
L. Joy Gates Black, President, Delaware County Community College
“After the tragic killing of George Floyd, the College commissioned a white paper on the creation of a Center for Equity and Social Justice. It is housed under our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It was the missing piece to the puzzle in terms of providing the tools to our students to be effective in their communities. We created the Center for Equity and Social Justice with an external focus, engaging the broader community and having difficult but necessary conversations.”
Victoria Bastecki-Perez, President, Montgomery County Community College
“We’ve been recognized nationally as a Leader College of Distinction for closing achievement gaps for underrepresented students through Achieving the Dream, which is a national initiative that champions student success. We have implemented several initiatives and programs, including our Faculty Diversity Fellowship program, President’s Advisory Council on Equity and Social Justice, Presidential Symposium on Diversity, Lively Arts and Lecture Series, including the Richard K. Bennett Distinguished Lectureship for Social Peace and Justice, among others.”
Marilyn Wells, Chancellor, Penn State – Brandywine
“Over the years, Penn State Brandywine has had a variety of committees focused on facets such as Veterans and Diversity. This year, we elevated those and established Chancellor’s Commissions on Equity by Design. There are five distinct commissions: Advancing Accessibility, Empowering Women, Racial and Ethnic Justice, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, and Veterans and Military Success. We elevated those from committees to Chancellor’s Commissions with very specific charges, looking to base their work off data and tap into national and Penn State resources.”
Chris Domes, President, Neumann University
“Our diversity council is focusing on key areas to help our campus advance inclusion and equity in appropriate ways. Our president’s advisory council is made up of minority alumni who are helping to guide us in key areas, including job placement, career development and mentorship. Historically, students of color fall behind in job opportunities, even with the same qualifications. We also have diversity-certified courses, which we have had in place for a few years. For instance, we have a course on African American leaders in business, focused on those who have impacted the business community.’
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