The City of Huntsville’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is one step closer to reality following Thursday night’s City Council meeting.
The Council unanimously approved the introduction of an ordinance renaming the Office of Multicultural Affairs to the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The move comes 10 months after Mayor Tommy Battle announced plans to restructure the Office of Multicultural Affairs to better meet the needs and goals of our community.
The ordinance also proposes renaming the title of the current Multicultural Affairs Officer to the Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Kenny Anderson, who joined the City in 2013, would transition into the new role if approved by Council.
Finally, Council signed off on the introduction of an ordinance establishing a new position – Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. With several changes happening simultaneously, Anderson is excited for what the future holds.
“We think what this transition represents is an opportunity to better understand how we’re providing City services and to identify gaps in service provisions,” he said. “It also allows us to expand our training abilities as well as our community engagement opportunities.”
A little background
Mayor Battle launched the Office of Multicultural Affairs 12 years ago to serve as the administration’s point of contact for diverse races and cultures within the City. In October 2020, he announced during his State of the City Address he would make changes to the office to help foster a more inclusive community for all.
The goal is to engage in dialogue and expand staff and programs to ensure leadership is creating a more just and equitable City.
“Establishing the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion would be critical in ensuring we are doing everything we can as a City to meet the needs of our citizens,” Mayor Battle said. “I look forward to conversations and programs that both challenge and inspire us to build a better Huntsville.”
Council will vote on the ordinances at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 26. If approved, Anderson said the new office and his updated title will take effect immediately.
The City would also begin the process of advertising for the new Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, who will likely come on board in October or November.
Anderson said they’re interested in someone who is flexible, open-minded, empathetic, and has a willingness to understand and help people. He said that person should have an innovative, creative spirit when tackling problems and devising solutions.
“Our community is growing rapidly, and part of that growth is being fueled by technology and communication,” Anderson said. “It’s important to have somebody who can make adjustments and blend into that environment where things are changing quickly.”
For more information or to provide feedback on the new office, please email Anderson at Kenny.Anderson@HuntsvilleAL.gov.