Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Action (IDEA)

Achieving a More Welcoming Community

New Albany takes great pride in collaborating with residents, businesses and community partners through our strategic planning process to achieve an outstanding community of choice. Since the first strategic plan was adopted in 1998, it has been updated every five years, based upon community input and sound planning principles, to effectively manage our growth.

During the most recent planning process, a new topic, community well-being, emerged as a direct result of feedback from our constituents with the goal of “fostering a more healthy, supportive, livable and inclusive New Albany for all community members” by focusing on the following objectives:
  • Foster an inclusive and welcoming sense of community.
  • Continue open City communication with the public.
  • Encourage programming to support the needs of all residents.
  • Support initiatives that enhance community well-being and happiness.

Our strategic plans address connectivity, pedestrian-friendly amenities, mixed-use environments, parks and open spaces, quality architecture, traditional neighborhoods, versatile residential choices, economic development and environmental sustainability. From the beginning, we have worked to ensure that New Albany’s four pillars – lifelong learning, arts and culture, health and wellness and environmental sustainability – are reflected in our future vision.

In response to community input and against the backdrop of a social awakening across the country regarding diversity, inclusion and equity, the City chose to turn a lens on itself to understand how we live up to our commitment to be a welcoming, inclusive community.

As the City began to explore these issues more fully, a review of best practices and model programs led us to the creation of the Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Action (IDEA) Committee in the summer of 2020. Under the capable and passionate guidance of Mayor Sloan Spalding and Councilwoman Marlene Brisk and in partnership with our residents, business community, council, administration, consultants and others, we embarked on a journey to educate ourselves through open and honest dialogue.

As the City strived to achieve a better understanding of the needs and expectations of our constituents, it became evident that we did not have a strategy to effectively address issues of inclusion, diversity and equity. We needed greater representation and input from minority members of our community and a more accurate assessment of how New Albany is perceived by the people who live and work here.

The IDEA Committee was designed to include a mix of residents and community partners with a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives that would result in a robust exchange of ideas as well as information. Their purpose was to develop a set of recommendations to create a more welcoming and inclusive community with the goal of including more residents in community initiatives and leadership roles.

The IDEA Committee proceeded to work with consultants to design, implement and facilitate a process that included education, candid discussion and recommendations for the path forward.

Three core components were explored in the development of the IDEA Committee’s recommendations: 1) Programming and Events, 2) Developing Partnerships, and 3) Increasing Communication. In addition to these areas of focus, the IDEA Committee also became a forum for problem-solving regarding areas of concern for the community.

I want my children to grow up in an inclusive community that appreciates and celebrates our amazing diversity, and that sees people for who they are and can be accepting. If we embrace each other and are open to learn from each other, we will be stronger. New Albany is beautifully diverse in ways other communities aren’t. The issue is not diversity. The issue is inclusion and equity.
– Kimberly Lee Minor, IDEA Committee Member and New Albany Resident

Our First Step Toward a Stronger, Healthier Future

The establishment of the IDEA Committee was a pivotal first step toward building a stronger, healthier and more welcoming New Albany. The diverse voices of this committee resulted in open, candid and honest conversations that thriving cities across the nation are hosting right now. The members of the IDEA Committee personify the level of resident engagement and private partnership that is needed to improve policies, practices and structures throughout New Albany.

New Albany is already a diverse City. Through these recommendations, City Council can continue to embrace growth and develop systems and policies to promote a fully inclusive and equitable community for all. Our hope is that we can lift up all of our residents and continue to increase our inclusion efforts by advocating for public and private sector policies that promote diversity, inclusion and equity. These recommendations will require the active participation of City leaders, residents, businesses and community partners. It will take intentional and transparent practices to create and sustain an environment where all feel welcome.

On December 7, 2021, New Albany City Council decided to continue IDEA in 2022 to implement the committee’s recommendations. The IDEA Implementation Panel meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 pm at New Albany Village Hall. You can find agenda and meeting minutes by clicking here.

Our fullest sense of community cannot be achieved unless individuals of different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs and intersections feel a sense of belonging, appreciation and opportunity. The physical community and relational community are two sides of the same coin. By adopting inclusive and equitable strategic action, New Albany is investing in relational community. It’s an investment that is equally as important as the efforts we dedicate to the built environment.
– Tiana Samuels, IDEA Committee Member and New Albany Resident

Understanding Our Common Language

Diversity

Psychological, physical, and social differences that occur among all individuals; including but not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, and learning styles. Diversity is all the ways people are different and the same at the individual and group levels. Even when people appear the same, they are different. Organizational diversity requires examining and questioning the makeup of a group to ensure that multiple perspectives are represented.

Equity

The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations, and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups. Equity requires commitment to strategic priorities, resources, respect, and civility, as well as ongoing action and assessment of progress toward achieving specified goals.

Inclusion

The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate and bring their full, authentic selves to work. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in the words/actions/ thoughts of all people.

Accessibility

Accessibility* is giving equitable access to everyone along the continuum of human ability and experience. Accessibility encompasses the broader meanings of compliance and refers to how organizations make space for the characteristics that each person brings.

* Courtesy of the American Alliance of Museums

Gratitude for Our Generous Contributors

We wish to thank the following individuals who generously contributed their time and insights to assist in developing recommendations for building a more welcoming and inclusive New Albany and to the consultants who guided us through the process.

City of New Albany
Mayor Sloan Spalding
Councilwoman Marlene Brisk
Councilwoman Andrea Wiltrout

IDEA Implementation Panel Members
Dr. Brianna Johnson, Chair
Kirubel Aklilu
Marie Alvarado
Connor Berry
Eric Duerksen
Dr. Nwando Olayiwola

Original IDEA Committee Members
Ben Collins
Nicole Dempsey
Angela Douglas
Vida Farwana
LaVerne Fudge-Williamson
Ofra Eliav Greenshtein
Mohit Gupta
Abe Jacob
Kimberly Lee Minor
Paul Naumoff
Nwando Olayiwola, MD
Shohba Painter
Anita Patel
Benjamin Reid
Tiana Samuels
Renee Shumate
Jennie Wilson

City Administration
Joe Stefanov, City Manager
Adrienne Joly, Director of Administrative Services
Jennifer Mason
Lindsay Rasey
Chris Christian
Anna van der Zwaag

Consultants
Lisa White, PhD
Courtnee Carrigan (Raising the Bar Performance Group, LLC)
Sarah Thompson (Raising the Bar Performance Group, LLC)

Join Us

We invite citizens who want to engage in our ongoing efforts to view the calendar of upcoming meetings at newalbanyohio.org/answers/boards-commissions.

We welcome input, suggestions and questions about the IDEA Committee’s work and recommendations. Share your views by sending an email to idea@newalbanyohio.org.

You can read the IDEA Committee’s December 2021 report to New Albany City Council by clicking here.

We wish to encourage a diverse citizenship and to inspire participation by including everyone in community activities and leadership roles within New Albany.