SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo City Council approved Tuesday the creation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force.

It is part of SLO’s wider effort to help make the City an inclusive and safe community for everyone, and to promote belonging, free thought and speech, while condemning racism, hate speech, bigotry, violence, and prejudice.

“Creation of the task force is an important first step in our efforts to make San Luis Obispo more welcoming, inclusive, and safe for all,” said Mayor Heidi Harmon. “We can and will have a positive impact on our community if we come together and take action to make the world a more inclusive place for everyone. This is the beginning of a process that needs to be sustained, creative, deep, and long-term. A call to show up for justice is upon us and we are being invited, individually and collectively, to transform our community into one in which all people feel at home in San Luis Obispo.” 

The task force will be led by Mayor Harmon and Council Member Erica A. Stewart and comprised of up to 11 members. Any SLO County resident over 18 years old with a strong connection to the City of San Luis Obispo and with formal or informal experience (lived, personal, educational, community, volunteer and/or professional) are encouraged to apply. Task force members will work with City leadership to:

  1. Focus on activities that support marginalized racial, ethnic, and cultural groups.
  2. Collect information and insight about advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in San Luis Obispo.
  3. Develop a notice of funding availability to support diversity, equity and inclusion work of proven organizations and best practices for change.
  4. Provide guidance and a foundation for creating a potential 2021-2023 diversity, equity and inclusion focused Major City Goal.
  5. Strengthen the focus and role of the City’s Human Relations Commission to support the City’s vision.

“I am pleased Council approved the creation of the task force and am honored to play an important role in moving our community forward,” said Councilmember Stewart. “I look forward to working with the task force on ways we can promote diversity, equality, and belonging while actively working toward racial justice.”

In June, City Council—in response to community input—appropriated $140,000 of new funding towards programs to support diversity, equity, and inclusion programs bringing the budget for 2020-21 to $160,000.

The City plans to convene the Task Force in early September. Community members interested in serving on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force should visit the City’s web site at www.slocity.org for more information and to fill out an application or you can email DEI@slocity.org.

Getting through this together, Atascadero