VOICES: We have unique opportunity for meaningful, action-oriented change

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Erica Fields video for Dayton Human Relations Council's "Many People. Many Voices. One City" project. Fields' is HRC's executive director.

Note from Dayton Daily News Community Impact Editor Amelia Robinson: This guest opinion column from Erica Fields, the director of Dayton’s Human Relations Council, appeared on the Ideas and Voices page Sunday, Oct. 25. HRC has launched the campaign “Many People. Many Voices. One City.” Other columns that appeared in the edition are linked below.

The Dayton Human Relations Council is embarking on a campaign with residents throughout the community to highlight our vision statement: Many People. Many Voices. One City.

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Focusing on the critical role that the organization plays in promoting and ensuring a culture of fair treatment and equal access to opportunities, this campaign seeks not only reintroduce the vision, mission and values of the HRC, but also to underscore the importance of building community pride and a welcoming and inclusive city for the many different people and voices that call Dayton home.

Erica Fields is executive director of Dayton's Human Relations Council. She is in a Many People. Many Voices. One City t-shirt.
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Erica Fields is executive director of Dayton's Human Relations Council. She is in a Many People. Many Voices. One City t-shirt.

In 2020, HRC celebrated 58 years in the journey toward fairness and equity.

We take pride in leading the charge to enforce the city of Dayton’s anti-discrimination ordinances; provide business and technical assistance to build the capacity of minority, women and small disadvantaged businesses; and to administer community relations initiatives that educate residents on their civil and human rights and promote positive intergroup relationships.

National events have highlighted the importance of our work and the significant challenges we have to overcome as a community to ensure fairness and equity for all.

While these momentous events have highlighted ever-growing inequities, they have presented us with a unique opportunity to acknowledge and enact meaningful, action-oriented change on issues concerning equity, diversity and inclusion.

During this time of racial and social unrest and because of the impact of our vision statement, we wanted to capture sentiments of inspiration and hope. It is in the spirit of diversity, inclusion and equity that we launch our campaign to allow residents ― across all races, ages, religions and backgrounds ― to speak their truth when they hear the words many people, many voices, one city.

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Current systems of governance are often inadequate and exclusionary. If we truly want to level-up and reduce inequality, then we must ensure that people from underrepresented backgrounds have a seat at the table.

Diversity across race, age, gender, religion and thought allows us to draw on the collective experience of a wide range of people to ensure that our systems, our policies, our programs, our actions benefit us all.

The comprehensive campaign will include media print articles, recorded personal testimonials, and a social media community challenge to join the movement.

The HRC invites community members to post pictures wearing the Many People T-shirt with a few sentences explaining what the vision means to them and why diversity and inclusion is so important. We ask that community members tag the HRC in their posts.

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Shirts will be available free of charge at the HRC for the remainder of 2020.

For more information, please contact the HRC at 937-333-1400.

WHAT DOES THE PHRASE “MANY PEOPLE. MANY VOICES. ONE CITY” MEAN AND WHY ARE YOU PARTICIPATING?

“The fight for an equitable society is never-ending, and the HRC will continue to be an important voice for the Dayton community in that fight. This campaign highlights the truth that we are a stronger city when we embrace our diversity, focus on being more inclusive and give all of our citizens a voice.” - Paul Bradley, HRC Board Chair

Paul Bradley, HRC Board Chair
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Paul Bradley, HRC Board Chair

“I wanted to be a part of the Many People. Many Voices. One City. Campaign because I am dedicated to building a Dayton that is welcoming to every resident. I know we still have work to do, but the HRC is one effective way that we give a voice to people who have been silenced, and I’m proud to support their work.” Matt Joseph, Dayton City Commissioner.

Matt Joseph, Dayton City Commissioner.
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Matt Joseph, Dayton City Commissioner.

Credit: DANIEL CLEARY CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: DANIEL CLEARY CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY

“I participated in this project because I truly believe in the mission and value of the city of Dayton Human Relations Council. In today’s climate of social and racial unrest, that mission is more important than ever.”Rev. Joshua D. Ward, Omega Baptist Church

Rev. Joshua D. Ward, Pastor, Omega Baptist Church
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Rev. Joshua D. Ward, Pastor, Omega Baptist Church

Erica Fields is the executive director of the city of Dayton’s Human Relations Council. Guest columns are submitted or requested fact-based opinion pieces typically of 300 to 450 words. Have an idea? Contact Amelia Robinson at arobinson@daytondailynews.com.