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Village of Wellington working on diversity, inclusion

'I'm encouraged even more so today'
Posted at 11:26 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 23:26:31-05

WELLINGTON, Fla. — Tony Nelson sat listening intently Tuesday as the Wellington Council received an update regarding its diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiative.

"I'm encouraged even more so today," he said.

The council hired Michael Slater, who is an executive diversity, inclusion and belonging consultant. He's in charge of helping the Village of Wellington seek solutions.

"We're in a situation where it is a diverse community, not going to be a diverse community," he said.

Mayor Anne Gerwig said village leadership took it upon themselves to face the challenges.

"We wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could for the reputation of this village and because, I think, people need to know who we are and that they belong here," she said.

The report said the village has areas for growth. The improvements include the council's lack of diversity to assure minority community members a harmonious relationship with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

"I've raised three children in the Wellington area. They're all adults now and, for the most part, none of them want to come back," Mable King said.

The Rev. Peter Bartuska with Christ Community Church also spoke.

"I'm trying to figure out how do we come alongside in this and offer ourselves," he said.

The report goes on to say the village should encourage community engagement and develop plans to diversify all leadership groups to reflect the makeup of Wellington.

Nelson said it also means more commitment from Wellington residents.

"There aren't enough voices," Nelson said. "This was a significant meeting and I think there may have been 15-20 people in here at best."