John Connet is the City Manager of Hendersonville, North Carolina, a vibrant mountain city where the government and citizens work together for a high quality of life.
John presented to our Rotary EClub of Global Trekkers members, visiting Rotary District Governors (past and presently serving) and our esteemed Global audience, via zoom on 12 Jan 2022. In his presentation, John talked about the formation of the City of Hendersonville Diversity and Inclusion Committee. This committee was organized following the murder of George Floyd and civil unrest of 2020. The committee is fostering difficult conversations within the community on the importance of diversity and inclusion. The aim is to:
create a culture of belonging,
address past inequities, and
treat everyone with respect and dignity, subject to such limitations as may be imposed by state law or by ordinances of the city.
As a result of this committee the City has established an aggressive public input campaign to seek guidance from the good citizens of Hendersonville on how they should spend those funds that were given to them under the American Recovery Program Act.
Diversity of race, sexuality, culture, values, religion, gender, physical mobility and mental health bring new and varying perspectives to the way we and others live. Diversity has not always been welcomed with open arms, but more and more we see people opening their minds to others' ideas. That's so important to building a healthy society. We may not always see eye to eye on things. We may not always be right. In fact, we may be entirely wrong in our opinion of how others live. But if we don't let others' ideas into our lives, we will never know how wrong we really might be and that's important to helping us all learn from the and grow as a healthy community. If we only take one perspective about events in the world, or about people, then we will never understand the other perspectives behind those events, or the actions of others, and in that we will lock ourselves into a closed-minded ideology that has only led to hate, prejudice, and tragedy throughout history.
“No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive." -Mahatma Gandhi
"Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.” Malcolm Forbes.
What is your contribution to this narrative? Have you talked about diversity and inclusion in your community?
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