I have used the phrase “words matter.” I found out how much they matter recently after a City Council meeting. In a previous council meeting, I had described our community as being less diverse than some, making some of our policing challenges less pronounced than elsewhere. Based on comments during the citizen input portion of the regular council meeting, I realized some people hear the phrase “as diverse as some others” as referencing only — or primarily — race or skin color. I had no idea it would be so narrowly interpreted. For me, diversity is a much more layered, complex concept applicable in a wide variety of situations. I never thought my comment would be a focal point for expanding discussions on what diversity is and what levels of community investment are required to assure diversity develops.
Law Insider articulates my understanding of diversity as follows: "Culturally Diverse Communities means communities of different diversity dimensions including: race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation/identity, socio-economic status, age, religion, physical and/or mental/neurological abilities, language, geographical location (e.g. urban/rural), veteran and/or other pertinent characteristics."