The topic of diversity and inclusion (D&I) has been front and center in our community lately. It was the theme of our 2019 Women of Influence Forum in December, and one of four primary discussion topics for The Big Table: Greater Peoria, a regional community-building event hosted by the CEO Council, local chambers of commerce, and other organizations last October.
Peoria Magazines was proud to produce the final report on The Big Table, revealing trends and takeaways from conversations with nearly 700 residents from around the region. In the area of D&I, the results confirmed what most of us already knew: there is significant segregation amongst our local communities, resources are not equitably distributed, and we have a lot of work to do this area. But there was another, more positive outcome as well.
The Big Table brought disparate elements of our community together in the same room—many of whom did not know one another, or had not felt included in past civic planning sessions. New voices were heard and meaningful connections were made. This intentionally inclusive approach, perhaps more than anything else, was its most significant feature. New initiatives have already been spawned, and follow-up discussions and events are being planned to build on this momentum.
This magazine will continue to be part of this important conversation. It is our mission to shine a light on the good things happening in our community, as well as the ways we are all trying to do better. We look forward to collaborating with all of you and furthering this message—because we truly are better when we stand together as one.
It’s been nearly one year since the launch of the new Peoria Magazine, and we have endeavored to grow more inclusive—to better reflect the wonderfully diverse community in which we live. We should be proud of our rich tapestry of identities and our many different cultures. But we must also continually strive to do better.
None of us have all of the answers, but all of us can help create solutions. And with more voices at the table, those solutions will be far more impactful. As one participant in The Big Table so aptly stated: “Be willing to share and listen, and be intentional about change.”