Decatur seeks applications for diversity board

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt April 17, 2016
Shannan Miller (top right) visits with different tables during the Community Action Planning Cafe Conversation. File photo: Jonathan Phillips

Shannan Miller (top right) visits with different tables during the Community Action Planning Cafe Conversation.
File photo: Jonathan Phillips

The city of Decatur is looking for residents to join a community board that will be focused on diversity.

Like the city’s Active Living and Lifelong Community boards, the Better Together Advisory Board will provide an opportunity for citizen input. In this case, it will be input on matters of equity and inclusion.

According to Linda Harris, Assistant Director of Community and Economic Development, the board will have nine members appointed by the City Commission. The creation of the board is one of the action steps that came out of a process of creating a community action plan to make the city more diverse and inclusive.


The plan cost $109,000 and was almost two years in the making, sparked by allegations of racial profiling by police officers that were raised back in January of 2014. Former School Board member Don Denard said he had been profiled, and other black residents and visitors soon came forward with stories of their own experiences with police officers. That discussion was broadened to include a conversation about all forms of diversity in the city. Decatur hired the Art of Community to facilitate the discussion.

The plan was accepted in December by the City Commission. Establishing an advisory board was one of the things recommended for immediate action by commissioners.

“This Board will serve as advocate and advisor in implementing the recommendations of the Better Together Community Action Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Engagement,” the description provided by the city says.

Specifically, the board will provide recommendations about:

1) Effectively promoting to city residents, businesses and non-profit organizations the
concepts of equity, inclusion and engagement.

2) Coordinating with established programs and organizations in the community working to
promote a more just, welcoming, inclusive, equitable and compassionate city.

3) Identifying and researching potential programs and activities for the implementation of
the Better Together Community Action Plan.

4) Assisting with identifying alternative funding sources for Better Together programs and

5) Assisting with identifying potential partners, research opportunities and co-sponsorships
for Better Together programs and activities.

6) Reviewing local, state, and regional policies pertaining to equity, inclusion and
engagement and recommending enhancements or changes needed for a diverse and
engaged community.

7) Identifying physical barriers to equity, inclusion and engagement in the community and
informing possible areas in need of improvements to the physical infrastructure.

8) Identifying the latest developments in equity, inclusion and engagement in communities,
schools and workplaces.

“In order to apply for the Better Together Advisory Board, fill out and return a Statement of Interest form by May 20, 2016,” Harris said via email. “The City Commission will interview candidates and then choose the board members.  Click here if you want to read about the Better Together process and see a copy of the Better Together Community Action Plan.  If you have questions or need more information email me or call my direct line 678-553-6512.”

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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