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April 1, 2023

Lak’ech Learning at Community Center Tonight

Indigenous included in DEI plan development

The next stage of a city program to nurture and improve inclusion throughout the Healdsburg community takes place tonight, Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Healdsburg Community Center. The “encuentro” (gathering) will be the first of five such meetings in the next four months to help build the city’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) plan, due in mid-2023.

The topic tonight is “Indigenous Voices + in Lak’ech,” the last word being a term embraced by the city’s DEI plan management consultant, Acosta. Its meaning is roughly, “You are my other me,” or in Spanish, “U eres mi otro yo,” based on Mayan languages and philosophy. The introduction of this concept as a framework for equity development is key to Acosta’s methodology. 

All five meetings fall into the category of Equity Encuentros that Acosta Latino Learning Partnership (ALLP) outlined in their revised timeline on Dec. 5, 2022. They follow five similar meetings last year that worked at identifying the various communities in Healdsburg. The assessment of that earlier phase was delivered to the City Council on Dec. 5. 

The city embarked on the DEI path early in 2022 with equity consultant ALLP, in an effort to nurture and improve diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the Healdsburg community. The initiative was proposed by then-Mayor Ozzy Jimenez and then-Councilmember Skylaer Palacio, as the City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Equity, and approved by the City Council in February 2022. 

The process is to conclude in mid-summer with a DEI Plan for Healdsburg, co-constructed by key stakeholders, city staff and Acosta. The three-to-five-year plan would give the city “baseline data” upon which to provide guidance for staff retention and recruitment; encouraging BIPOC youth participation; development of a more inclusive workplace; integrating diversity-equity-inclusion practices in city government, programs and law enforcement; and housing policy, and the like.

“This series of events is part of the [contract] with Acosta Learning Partnership that will ultimately result in a City Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan,” said Andrew Sturmfels, the city’s assistant city manager, who is leading the city’s DEI initiative. “These events will include guest speakers and an opportunity for participants to actively engage and support the co-construction of DEI plan goals.”

The City of Santa Rosa recently completed their own DEI Plan. In explaining the scope of Healdsburg’s DEI process, Sturmfels said, “While I do anticipate the plan will have some aspiration statements, the ‘actions’ in the plan will be more specific than the policy statements in a general plan, and will include things like new policies, practices or programs and/or changes to existing policies, practices or programs.” 

The first encuentro shares information about Indigenous voices in the area, and subsequent meetings deal with the African-American experience in Healdsburg, housing and planning, the migrant community and the Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Healdsburg. 

The next four Equity Encuentros will also be held at the Healdsburg Community Center. Their dates are Feb. 23, March 9, March 30 and April 27. Each will run for two hours, beginning at 6:30pm in the Multipurpose Room at the Healdsburg Community Center, 1557 Healdsburg Ave.

Language interpretation, childcare and light refreshments will be provided.

Further information on the programs is at healdsburg.gov/1071/Diversity-Equity-and-Inclusion-Plan.


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