Notes from different break out group discussions at the 2003 From The Ground Up: Building Healthy Communites forum in Kitchener, ON.

 

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DIVERSITY
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3 focuses:
-> barriers to involvement and participation
-> what is diversity?
-> solutions

Barriers:
– passive intimidation (language, tone, mannerisms, ..)
– time and energy limitations
– not being accepting of others
– lack of literacy, other skills
– not having control over personal circumstances
– lack of meaningful inclusion, being valued
– lack of committment, desire on part of organization

What do we mean by diversity?
(looking at, and beyond, conventional definitions)

Solutions:
<< valuing implementation / seeing successes >>
-creating positive / non-threatening spaces for all stakeholders (comfortable)
– include people in meaningful ways: multiple perspectives, lifestyles, interests, skills
– non-traditional approaches to membership
– communication
– intent -> devotion of resources
– taking small steps, one at a time
– shakeup the mindset of senior menagement (educate)
– creativity in recognizing the problems in accessibility
– ask more questions
– include diversity as an objective
– allow poeple to contribute in different ways
– accountability: audit / evaluate
– include affected people
– partnerships / allies / support / advocacy

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DECISION MAKING
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– guide by your side, not sage on stage
– leadership is an art form
– validating people: for their contributions, as people

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ENVIRONMENTAL
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– questions re: SARS / West Nile
-> where are they coming from?
-> how do people react?
– how political / social funding setup puts people in passive roles, asking for fund, making requests, but not in decision-making positions
– other areas:
.. development (water, soil, ..)
.. food system (local connections)
.. education
– visionary versus here and now
– sense of intent, lead by example
– sense of ownership / meaningful
– actively create opportunities to dialogue
– develop our minds continually
– move across complexity, learn
– small steps / leading
– assets in community

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PARTNERSHIP BUILDING
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– use for funding resources: $$, services, knowledge
– cooperation
– meshing together different priorities, shared interests
– how to find out about people
– partnership not as an idealogy
-> one approach but not only one
– situation specific
– strategic opportunism
– spontaneous, also more effort / Long Term
– serendipiduous planning
-> accidents / opportunities, taking advantage