Oakwood inclusion group to propose outcomes strategy as part of mission

OAKWOOD — The Oakwood Inclusion Coalition has established a foundation to help foster community engagement and expand its message. The organization plans to share its proposed outcomes strategy at an event Wednesday night.

The OIC was formed in late 2020 “to study, promote, and celebrate an inclusive, equitable, diverse and welcoming environment and community for everyone who lives, works, visits, or passes through Oakwood,” documents show.

Recently, the OIC has defined its mission, gained nonprofit status and chosen a leadership team while holding and participating in events. Promoting public discussion is “one of the most important elements” of the group’s work, coalition Chair Madeline Iseli told Oakwood City Council recently.

The meeting Wednesday is set for 7 p.m. at Wright Memorial Public Library, 1776 Far Hills Ave.

“We’re going to share some thoughts and ideas with citizens of the community and get some feedback to see if what we’re proposing makes sense,” Iseli said.

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

The population of Oakwood, a largely residential suburb of about 9,000 bordering Dayton, is more than 95% white, according to U.S. Census data.

The group seeks to change what City Manager Norb Klopsch, an OIC leadership team member, called a “lingering reputation” that has been “troubling.”

Explore2019 story: Oakwood weighing report that alleges racial profiling

That mindset about the city wasn’t aided by a 2019 report — which Oakwood officials argued was “seriously flawed” — focused on its safety department’s treatment of minorities.

The OIC gained a 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service in May 2021, federal records show. It also established a fund through The Dayton Foundation, Iseli said.

A key role for the OIC is “to get citizens together to start talking about issues that are important to them,” she said. “To start envisioning the future of Oakwood and where the community is going.”

About 200 people took part in two public meetings, with about 75 attending both, showing “good, consistent participation,” Iseli said.

ExploreCRIME: Postal service unsure how thieves are stealing checks, won’t share data

Discussions on two books drew 50 to 60 people each, she said.

One was “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” a book on how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

The other was “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion,” which challenges conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion.

The OIC also had about 70 participating in the MLK Memorial March in Dayton in January, Iseli said.

“As we continue to develop programs and plans for the coming years, we were able to remain committed to nonpartisanship,” she said.

ExplorePOPULAR: Dorothy Lane Market chair honored by national food institute

“We remain committed to creating connections for citizens to work together constructively and collaboratively to share our diverse thinking and to build a stronger community,” Iseli added.

More information is available on the OIC’s website, https://www.oakwoodic.org/.

About the Author