Building a Bigger Table
The results from last October’s The Big Table: Greater Peoria event were announced at the Peoria Innovation Hub on February 18, revealing trends and takeaways from nearly 700 residents from around the region. Diversity & inclusion was one of the four primary discussion areas—a powerful combination that supports and enhances a thriving community.
Participants in The Big Table believe there is significant segregation amongst the communities of the Greater Peoria region. When any of our communities or neighborhoods struggle, it impacts everyone. This includes general community infrastructure, such as schools and transportation, as well as our overall mood and sense of well-being.
What We Have Done Well
Many larger corporations offer diversity training for their employees, which helps foster an inclusive culture, while other local institutions have been initiating conversations about creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce. The LGBTQ community has also thrived in recent years.
What We Can Improve
- Segregation: Some neighborhoods and school districts are effectively segregated, while profiling and labeling continue. There are large inequities in poverty based on racial differences.
- Uneven distribution of resources: Common infrastructure like sidewalks, bus stations, grocery stores, schools and healthcare resources are not equitably distributed.
- Better understanding: We need to understand that diversity and inclusion is not just about race, gender, religion and sexual orientation, but also about diversity of identity, ideas and experiences.
How to Create Stronger Alliances Within Our Community
- Initiate discussion. Step out of our comfort zones and conduct open conversations with others.
- Listen to other perspectives and believe what you hear. Change starts with all of us—each individual.
- Bust stereotypes. People should be recognized for their skills and capabilities, not judged on stereotypes or bias.
- Reduce and remove barriers that prevent people from moving to other areas. Neighborhood and school integration improves overall community health.
- Increase minority representation in public decision making. Everyone needs to have a seat at the table.
View the complete report at bigtablegp.com. PM