(BLOOMINGTON) – As part of ongoing efforts to address race, inclusion, and equity, the City continues to seek perspectives from the community, engage experienced advisors, and provide resources to prevent discrimination and support cultural diversity.
Mayor John Hamilton invites community members to learn more about and remain engaged in the following initiatives in progress:
- The Divided Communities Project’s Bridge Initiative: Mayor Hamilton invited the assistance of this mediation team operating out of The Ohio State University’s Moritz School of Law to meet with community leaders, City employees, and many other local leaders who play critical roles in the life of the city to gain insight into longstanding issues related to race and diversity in Bloomington. The project is being facilitated in Bloomington by William A. Johnson, an experienced mediator who previously served three terms as the Mayor of Rochester, New York and before that for over two decades as the President and CEO of the Urban League of Rochester. As previously shared, Mayor Johnson spent several days in Bloomington connecting with a variety of community members. He will compile a report capturing his observations that will be shared publicly in late December. Comments may be submitted to the Divided Communities Project here.
- Building Bridges: The City aggregates local and national resources including information about events, services, and tools to prevent race-based discrimination and support cultural diversity. Residents may also go to the Building Bridges page on the City’s website to learn about and report a hate incident. Records of hate incidents dating back to 2011 are available at the City’s Human Rights Commission website.
The City has also been seeking input to inform decisions about the way the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market is and should be operated. City staff and the community members of the Farmers’ Market Advisory Council and the Board of Park Commissioners are currently drawing upon feedback from a number of sources, including the following:
- Online comment form: Community members are invited to share thoughts about the market anonymously or with their name at a link available at the City’s “Frequently Asked Questions-2019 Farmers Market” page. Since July 31, 2019, 210 responses have been submitted.
- Comment box: Visitors to City Hall are invited to share their opinions by leaving their comments on paper in a comment collection box at the front desk in the atrium.
- Public meetings: The City has hosted numerous public meetings where community members have been invited to share thoughts about market issues. Many of these meetings have been recorded and may be reviewed at the City’s website, on the “Frequently Asked Questions-2019 Farmers Market” page. The City has also welcomed input on the issue on social media, including a Facebook Live event.
- Community Justice and Mediation Center (CJAM)/Indiana University Political and Civic Engagement (PACE) program: A team of mediators from the community-based nonprofit CJAM and the IU PACE program has met twice with Farmers’ Market vendors and once with a group representing diverse stakeholders at the Market, including vendors and protestors, and has shared the results of these meetings with City leaders.
- Broadening Inclusion Subcommittee of the Farmers’ Market Advisory Council (FMAC): This newly formed nine-member committee will meet monthly to evaluate existing Market practices and programs and take a forward-looking approach by providing suggestions to make the Market as inclusive as it can be. The first meeting took place on Thursday, November 7. Minutes from the meeting will be available on the FMAC’s website here.
- 2019 Community survey: Results of a survey of Bloomington residents conducted by National Research Center Inc. include information relating to issues of race and inclusion and to the perceived value of the market.
The input gathered through the aforementioned channels is being collected and considered as the City seeks to make decisions about the 2020 Farmers’ Market season. Starting with the Farmers Market Advisory Council meeting Monday, November 18 at 5:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers, a series of public meetings will offer additional opportunities to provide feedback.