Opening Statement

In Phase 1 of the 21st Century Partnership process, a broad cross-section of Olmsted County residents identified diversity as a "make or break" issue on which the social and economic health of this region depends. This report details the findings, objectives, and goals that the Task Force on Diversity has determined are critical first steps on our journey to a community-wide commitment promoting unity and respect for all people.  Members of the Task Force agree, that by not addressing these changes and issues, we put our collective future at risk.

     Olmsted County has maintained a leadership role in health care, technology, education and business. We believe that our community must add diversity to our list of positive accomplishments. By doing so, we will step forward as leaders for the nation in the 21st century, pledging to oppose discrimination in any form.  The Olmsted County will blend talent, culture, abilities and race to create a music in which all people are respected and welcome.

     The responsibility for change is proportional to the power the individuals and groups hold in society.  It is therefore, the responsibility of the majority population to provide vision, leadership and strategies to stop discrimination.

      It is against this background that the 21st Century Partnership Steering Committee identifies the following issues as the focus areas for the Diversity Task Force:

  • eliminate racism
  • create a welcoming environment for all cultures and abilities
  • promote the positive values of diversity

 

Eliminating Racism

Racism exists in Olmsted County and the community has found this issue difficult to confront. There is a definite need for a more coordinated, community wide emphasis and increase focus on diversity by elected bodies and business groups. There have been many diversity initiatives in the community; the activity has been directed at the cultural aspects, pointed short-term education, and board awareness programs such as the "Not in Our Town" project. These have all been positive efforts, however, the Olmsted community has not yet reached the core or root of the problem.

     While the goal to "eliminate racism" is unrealistic in the near term, a community that works well must promote a "zero tolerance" approach to discriminatory behavior

Creating a Welcoming Environment for all Cultures and Abilities

The current environment is not accepting of diversity in race, abilities, lifestyles or sexual orientation. We have made some progress over the years. More must be done to create an open and welcoming community if we are going to minimize future problems and maximize the strengths of our diverse population. A major step in this direction would be to extend the Human Rights Ordinance to the balance of the county and to amend it to address sexual orientation, age and disability.  The current lack of a county-wise structure with the authority in grievance resolution is a significant inhibitor to progress.

Promoting the Positive Values of Diversity

Of the three areas of the Diversity Task Force reviewed, promoting the positive aspects of diversity has received the most attention in the community. There are programs events and educational sessions that emphasize other cultures and beliefs. It is clear that the community is not leveraging the value that a diverse population brings to its culture, government, education, businesses and citizens. It is imperative that we look forward to our future, recognizing that the economic educational and social success the county are at stake. 

21st Century Diversity Strategic Plan for Diversity

21stCentury

Manual Navigation

21st Century Partnership - Community Strategic Plan for Diversity (Under Re-construction).

Back in May 1999 Olmsted County led the formation of a 21st Century Partnership to research and propose what it would take for Olmsted County to be a leader in the 21st Century. This document attempts to bring back some of that information for re-use.

All content on a single page

Manual Navigation

21st Century Partnership - Community Strategic Plan for Diversity (Under Re-construction).

Back in May 1999 Olmsted County led the formation of a 21st Century Partnership to research and propose what it would take for Olmsted County to be a leader in the 21st Century. This document attempts to bring back some of that information for re-use.

All content on a single page