Winooski, Vt. received a three-year, $300,000 grant to implement an initiative which will focus on engaging the full diversity of the Winooski community in critical decision-making. Winooski is the most diverse municipality in northern New England and the only majority-minority school district in Vermont. The initiative aims to establish systems that lift underrepresented voices and accurately reflect the area’s demographics.
Census data demonstrates that 31% of Winooski residents live below the poverty threshold. Many of these at-risk individuals are new Americans and face very real language, cultural, and trust barriers to participating in community dialogue. Without intervention, more than one-fifth of the low-income community will have no voice in the decision-making processes that directly impact them.
- Establish an Equity Commission geared towards making sure diverse voices are included in community decision-making processes.
- Expand the existing Community Cultural Liaison roles to build and strengthen partnerships between the city, school district, businesses, and community organizations.
- Hire a city Equity Director who would lead these changes and anti-racism work.
Enhance the city’s commitment to inclusion. Ensure that the strategic advantages diversity brings are accompanied by a future in which all voices are heard in decision-making and represented in the seats of power. Be a model for the future communities of Vermont.
- Association of Africans Living in Vermont
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
- Winooski Housing Authority
- Winooski School District
- City of Winooski