HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams’ Equity Roundtable returned for a second year, dedicated to making the City of Harrisburg a more diverse and inclusive capital city.
A total of 40 members are a part of the Equity Roundtable. The committees meet every month and then meet as a whole group twice a month.
The roundtable works to increase equity in Harrisburg by using evidence-based practice from professionals across the city, state, and country.
According to the City of Harrisburg, the four subcommittees have merged into two this year to help streamline topics and have more concise conversation. There will now be a law/justice & health committee, as well as a health and education & workforce committee.
“These are social determinants of health. These are people issues. That’s humanity,” said Karl Singleton, City of Harrisburg Chief Equity and Compliance Officer. “These are community needs that this administration is focused on improving. But we can’t start talking about it with a large group. It has to be in chunks. Steel sharpens steel, and we are constantly learning.”
According to the City of Harrisburg, Mayor Williams’ main goal is to eradicate structural and systemic racial and economic disparities in the City of Harrisburg. Members of the roundtable bring their own expertise from the public and private sector to help achieve this goal.
Meetings are currently being held virtually to help encourage wide geographic participation.
Subcommittees will meet the fourth Tuesday of every month beginning on Feb. 28. Whole group meetings, which include Mayor Williams, as well as equity partners, will begin on March 14 and take place on the second Tuesday of every other month.
“In order to think outside the box, we have to think outside the state (of Pennsylvania),” Singleton said. “We shouldn’t limit ourselves to geographic boundaries.”
High education centers, such as West Virginia University, as well as regional schools, like Elizabethtown College, will be joining the meetings this year. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office is expected to take part in some of the meetings.
Counties in Maryland with strong African American representation will also be participating in the meetings, said Singleton.
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“We are building DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) relationships out of state,” he said, adding that these partnerships will allow the City of Harrisburg to grow its base of minority-owned and controlled businesses.
Members in the committee meetings will be asked to lead a 15-minute discussion, which will highlight best practice and/or idea that individuals have undertaken in their day-to-day role, which shows promise in addressing racial and economic concerns.
“These are the foremost thought leaders in our community,” said Harrisburg Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams. “They are committed to the intentional equity and inclusivity this city needs.”