GREEN The topic of diversity is one the city of Green wants to begin discussing.
Several meetings have been held recently on the topic.
The latest being the third community meeting hosted by Your Voice Ohio led by Doug Oplinger. During the first two community meetings, the topic of diversity emerged as a topic residents wanted to talk about.
Those in attendance at the third meeting were asked that if Green’s diversity remains as it is, what will be the community's future?
A common response was the community will be older and it will struggle to attract new families. One resident said they don’t believe Green has a future if it doesn't do more to embrace diversity. Residents also believe without changing, there will be fewer good jobs and employers won’t be interested in the city.
Green is mostly made up of white, higher-income individuals. In the 1970 Census, Green was 99.8 percent white non-Hispanic. Now, the city is 93 percent white, which still is well above the 78 percent average for the country and 80 percent average of the state.
Also as a part of the third meeting, those in attendance broke into small groups to focus on how to make Green more attractive to outsiders in order to increase diversity.
Some of the suggestions included partnerships between corporations and schools, offering housing options available to lower-earning individuals, international clubs and cultural exchange and removing discriminatory practices in local policy.
Residents also encouraged individuals to get to know one another, meet new people and accept change.
The city has also formed a new group Citizens Group for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. Forming of the group came through and effort by Councilman Rocco Yeargin and Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer.
“Rocco and I felt it was an issue we should address,” Neugebauer said.
Yeargin and Neugebauer held small meetings in their homes to allow some people they knew to share their experience.
The goal of the group is to include everyone and tackle many different angles of diversity. Some of the areas the group hopes to focus on include defining inclusion, how to schedule a community day and future cultural events and how to work with the schools and involve them in the conversation.
The first public community meeting of that group drew 30 people as ideas of how to move forward and what issues to tackle were discussed.
Henry Johnson, who led the meeting, wants those in attendance to lead the meetings moving forward.
The group plans to meet monthly on the fourth Saturday of the month as the next meeting is set for 9 a.m. Sept. 28 at the Central Park Community Center.