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City of Manhattan News

Posted on: January 6, 2021

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force formed to advise the Manhattan community

(MANHATTAN, KANSAS – January 6, 2021) The Manhattan City Commission approved the formation of the Manhattan Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force to research and recommend best practices in order to create a more inclusive and welcoming community that includes racial, social-economic, and ethnic diversity in the growth of Manhattan. The DEI Task Force will be different from existing City Advisory Boards in that it will only convene for up to one year and will be tasked to make recommendations which will be directed to the community at large.  

The DEI Task Force will be composed of 25 members identified by 2020 Mayor and current City Commissioner, Usha Reddi.  Each member will serve a one-year appointment on the task force as a representative of an organization which serves the community and speaks for the broad spectrum of diversity in Manhattan.  Reddi originally proposed the formation of the task force at the June 16, 2020 City Commission meeting and obtained City Commission concurrence at the January 5, 2021 City Commission meeting.

The task force will meet monthly during 2021 to make recommendations in the following areas: individual and family support, economic opportunity, public safety, livability, and health and wellness.  Meetings of the Task Force will be noticed to the public for attendance, if held in person, or will be broadcast on public media platforms, if they are held virtually.  

Tanya Gonzáles and Corey Williamson will serve as co-chairs.

“I look forward to co-chairing this task force that brings together leaders of many community groups working in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We plan to collaboratively build on this foundation of inclusive best practices to strengthen the Manhattan community,” stated Co-Chair Tanya Gonzáles.

Tanya Gonzáles, PhD is a professor of American Literature and Latinx Studies at K-State. Since arriving in Manhattan in 2005, she has led many diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at K-State, including serving as president or chair of Alianza, the College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Committee, and the Faculty Senate.

“I am honored to Co-Chair this community Task Force and help the City participate in the important conversations that have been happening across the nation around diversity and equity. I am excited to work with a great group of community members that will help identify better ways to promote and create a more inclusive Manhattan,” stated Co-Chair Corey Williamson.

Corey Williamson serves as the Executive Director of the K-State Student Union. He is a Manhattan native and graduated from K-State with a Bachelor’s Degree in kinesiology and a Master’s Degree in counseling and student development. Corey has served on the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force for the Association of College Unions International (ACUI). Corey is also involved with DEI work at K-State as a member of the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation work group. 

The following people have also been appointed to the DEI Task Force:

  • Ronald Adkins, Veteran Service Organization
  • Cara Bruce, K-State Black Student Union
  • Dennis Butler, Riley County Police Department
  • Jurdene Coleman, Pawnee Mental Health
  • Pedro Espinoza, Alianza
  • Lori Feldkamp, Big Lakes Developmental Center
  • Sheila Glasper, Black Entrepreneurs of the Flint Hills
  • Vedant Kuklarni, K-State International Students Office
  • Kate Lambert, Flint Hills Human Rights Project
  • Lorenza Lockett, Coalition for Equal Justice
  • Danita MacDonald, Morningstar, Inc
  • Teresa Parks, Black Lives Matter
  • Susan Rensing, Flint Hills Wellness Coalition
  • Adrian Rodriguez, Office of Student Life and Multicultural Affairs
  • Vanessa Salinas, USD 383 Committee on Diversity and Inclusion
  • Bryan Samuel, K-State Office of Diversity
  • Manaf Sellak, Interfaiths
  • Jerry Sextro, City of Manhattan Human Rights and Services Advisory Board
  • Paul Shipp, Kansas Legal Services
  • Jason Smith, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce 
  • Johnny Taylor, Flint Hills Job Corps
  • TBD, Manhattan High School Student Council
  • TBD, Hispanic American Leadership Organization

The mission of the City of Manhattan is to sustain order and protect public safety, promote public health, preserve the built environment, and enhance economic vitality. The city supports a regional community in which individuals and families develop and thrive. More information about the City of Manhattan is available online at www.cityofmhk.com, on Facebook at /Cityofmanhattan and on Twitter @cityofmhk.

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