How Can We Foster Diversity in Our Community?
we asked some locals what steps we can take to make the Valley more equitable for everyone
“When I was pregnant with my daughter about 17 years ago, I had a prenatal appointment. My doctor asked, ‘Are you from here?’ Well, I lived there, but was I from there, no, in fact I was from a place about 2,000 miles from here. My doctor laughed and said, ‘I’m a member the Not-From-Around-Here Club, too.’ I’ve now lived over half my life here, and I continue to be astounded by the at-times ‘well you’re not actually from here’ perspective that I see here. In my role as a city councilor, I was walking out of city hall with some residents. One man was venting to me about whatever the main topic was: ‘Well you know, they are not really from here.’ I proudly responded something like, ‘Neither am I, but isn’t that part of the point of community is that we welcome new people, try to keep them here, grow our neighborhoods, workforce, people to shop here?’ He just raised his eyebrows and walked faster out of the city hall vestibule. A foundational piece of equity is to start with a mindset that you, me, we all belong here. For those of us in the Not-From-Around-Here Club, we won’t have to spend time proving or explaining our worthiness of participation and living here to have an equal chance of success in our beloved community.”
Eau Claire City Council member
“I would say that to make the Chippewa Valley more equitable, we need wage increases and affordable housing. LGBTQ+ individuals have a hard time finding inclusive work that pays well enough for the cost of living in the city of Eau Claire, especially, which leads them to seek out housing in outskirt towns, which are not as welcoming (we can’t deny our bubble here in Eau Claire), and they have to take extra safety measures to keep them and their family safe.”
LGBTQ+ Community Center president