keeping the all in Allen

At the recent Strategic Planning session of the Allen City Council, I was happy to see a major discussion on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. I personally think these topics should be visited regularly. Identity politics plays to injustices and is able to magnify them. So, what is the role of your local government in these issues?

There are many reasons why a local government would consider undertaking a DEI initiative, including Reviewing local ordinances, policies, and procedures to avoid prejudices; Improved decision-making that better represents all communities and is less likely to suffer from unintentional blind spots and biases; Increased trust between community members by offering citizen more opportunities to interact with one another; Give a place for anyone feeling marginalized by their city officials an opportunity to be heard. All of these are positive outcomes of this focus, but can it solve all the problems?

Unfortunately, local government cannot solve the ills of society. Neither can the state or federal government solve all of the problems. The strength of each community is the family. Individuals must be taught and encouraged to be open to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As families teach their children these things, communities become stronger. Allen is not perfect and can benefit from ongoing discussions on these matters, but the reach of local government only goes so far, and rightly so. A perfect world may not be achievable, but a great place to live, where all feel welcomed, is possible.

But, do we really want diversity? Strength comes from diversity. Intelligence comes from diversity. And, understanding comes from diversity. If you, your family, your church, or work was to rely solely upon your strength, intelligence, creativity, or skills, you may find yourself in a kind of Stone Age. Communities were created to benefit from the collective. If everyone were tailors, we would possibly look good, but where would we live, and how would we eat?

What about equity? Plain and simple, we are not all equal, so let’s not confuse the terms. Each of us is unique. We vary in our capacities to learn, understand, and do a variety of things in this life. Equity could be looked at in the terms of equal access or equal treatment. Those are issues your local government must secure. Can the city guarantee equality? No. That is where this discussion goes sideways. However, EVERY citizen must have equal access to city benefits and amenities, equal rights under the laws and ordinances, and equal treatment.

And, inclusion? I believe every community wants to be surrounded by good people. Community-minded individuals, families, businesses, churches, service organizations, and others… We welcome you with open arms. Come add to our strength.

Allen is great. It is a great place to live and raise a family. Allen is a great place to work and worship. Allen is a great place to shop and play. Keeping the ALL in ALLEN is about making sure each of us can find greatness for ourselves.