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OHF Macomb moves to tackle DEI issues

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The racial justice group One Human Family - Macomb is trying to gather insight on the experiences of people in Macomb. The organization sent out a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) survey last April.

Almost one year later, the results are in.

Based on the answers of 268 respondents, the survey found that there is a gap between how all Macomb residents feel valued. There is also a gap in how comfortable people feel with those who share a similar background and those from a different background.

“I think we need to take this information and share it,” OHF Macomb President Sarah Schoper said.

The survey also assessed Macomb residents’ challenges in income level, political views, sexual orientation and accessibility.

OHF Macomb will use the survey results as a guide as it strives to address DEI challenges in the community.

“I think for us, it’s: what do we want to do with this? I think making sure that each initiative we take aligns with what we found would be important for us to do,” Schoper said.

The survey respondents identified communication, cultural events, hiring initiatives and DEI training as the best solutions to reduce certain gaps. There are certain programs that Macomb already offers, and some solutions identified by the survey are already being implemented.

Macomb Community Development Coordinator John Bannon said many people might not know about what is already in place. He said communication is crucial.

“I think one of the conclusions about DEI training is that people would like to see more of it and they weren’t aware it was going on,” Bannon said. “I think it’s always a challenge to get the information out to different people. Doing it in a way that meets them where they are, whether it’s Facebook or otherwise is what we have to do.”

Research has found that organizations and communities that value and leverage diversity are more successful at achieving goals than those that don’t. Bannon said that this data gives OHF Macomb the opportunity to take a step towards the future.

“When you have data, you can make data driven decisions,” Bannon said.

OHF Macomb believes cultural events are a sticking point. The group believes that before planning, it must partner with other organizations to give the best product possible.

OHF Macomb plans to release the survey about every three years to assess what progress has been accomplished.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.