diversity


DIVERSITY DEFINITION AND PHILOSOPHY


• Diversity is the variety of attributes, backgrounds, cultures, and ideas brought by individuals to any situation.

• A healthy community requires an inclusive climate built on a foundation of trust and respect for individual assets, talents, and perspectives.

• Diversity and inclusion add significant value to our organizations and community by maximizing everyone's contribution to a shared quality of life.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


We are often asked about the Diversity Forum with questions ranging from why we are needed to how we operate. While many of these questions should be answered in other portions of the web site, we are including Questions and Answers to frequently asked questions in this area. We will continue to build this FAQ list based on the continuing questions you ask by emailing us atinfo@cospdiversityforum.org. We look forward to hearing from you


What’s wrong with our community now? Why do we need a Diversity Forum?

Colorado Springs has a history of diversity and inclusion challenges as well as a tradition of openness to new ideas. The Forum provides a place to foster an understanding of diversity—what it means and how it benefits all of us. We offer a vehicle for sharing common language, goals, and actions. We strive to address our challenges and offer a forum for collaboration and problem-solving. The Forum serves both as a clearinghouse for diversity success stories and as a communication and education resource. Through our work, we serve when needed to promote the well-being of our community.


What are you trying to achieve? What are you really trying to do?

The Vision of the Colorado Springs Diversity Forum is to build on the positive work and CONTRIBUTION of the diverse cultures which contribute to the social and business structure of our city. We recognize that positive diversity practices enhance economic vitality, promote business success, and improve the quality of life for the current and future citizens of Colorado Springs. Our work represents a visible commitment to inclusiveness and a commitment to achieving our full community and economic potential. We are bringing the corporate skills to bear in our community; we are trying to fill a need that is bigger than the city council, bigger than any grass roots organization. We recognize that collectively, we have skills within our organizations that can have positive impact on the community. Many of us have been dealing with issues around diversity and inclusion for some time. We want to bring some of our resources to the community.


Are there other organizations already doing this in Colorado Springs?

We conducted a preliminary study and found that Colorado Springs has several organizations and hundreds of diversity-focused events a year. We would like to help coordinate and organize all that energy—so actually, there is a lot going on now. We are not talking about making big change; we simply are talking about coordinating efforts for the most part. We will only provide leadership in planning/executing diversity programs when the scale of required resources or expertise are more than any individual organization can provide or when we are trying to rally the community together as a whole behind the program.


Do you know of any other communities doing this?

To our knowledge, Colorado Springs is the first to take on such a collaborative, grass-roots, community-focused challenge. Other cities have had similar initiatives, but those really seem more focused on pure economic revitalization. Our initiative is more focused on making our community stronger and more inclusive.


What do you mean by “Diversity”?

Diversity speaks to all the ways in which we differ from each other—it refers to the entire host of identities that define each of us as individuals. We believe that a healthy community requires an inclusive climate built on a foundation of trust and respect for individual assets, talents, and perspectives. Doing so maximizes everyone’s contribution to a shared quality of life in Colorado Springs.


Is this some form or “social engineering” or community manipulation? Shouldn’t a community reach a natural level of diversity without you or someone else trying to influence it?

We believe that by working toward creating an inclusive environment for all people, Colorado Springs will reach a natural level of diversity.


Are you trying to encourage a tidal wave of gays and lesbians, immigrants, African Americans Hispanics, etc. to invade our city?

This effort is not about singling out any one identity. It is about creating an inclusive environment for all people. We are not trying to recruit anyone to move to our city. We are about creating an inclusive environment where the people who already live here will want to stay. There is already a rich and vibrant community in Colorado Springs—we simply want to help generate an appreciation for the diversity we already have in our community and foster a culture where all our citizens feel welcome and want to stay. If others are attracted to our environment and want to add to the things going on here, we think that would be a positive step for the health of our community.


How long do you think we will need this Forum?

We think about diversity and inclusion as more a journey than a destination. The Forum will continue as long as it adds a positive contribution to the community and provides needed support to the other organizations involved in diversity and inclusion within Colorado Springs. Involvement By Our Members


What is the nature of this group?

The Forum is nonpartisan, apolitical, inclusive, and completely volunteer based and we are all giving our time and energy to make this a success. We have contracted a part-time coordinator to ensure continuity of effort.


Who exactly is on this Forum?

The membership of the Diversity Forum is comprised of representatives from public, private, nonprofit, and education sectors. Members of the Forum actively support the mission of the organization financially, with volunteer hours and in action. Our meetings and events are open to all those interested in participating.


Why is the business community involved in this effort?

The business members of the Forum believe that it’s the smart thing to do. In order to maintain a competitive advantage in an increasingly global marketplace, it is incumbent upon all of us to leverage the strength that diversity in our community can provide. A study released in December 2005 by the CEOs for Cities (a national network of mayors, business leaders, and university officials who come together to tackle issues affecting the future of our cities) showed that cities like ours can attract and retain younger workers by fostering an inclusive environment where minorities and women can advance their careers.


Who asked you to take this on?

The members of this Forum are not “wait to be asked” kinds of leaders. When we see a need, we work to address it for the good of all concerned. We recognize that the city council and others can’t take on all challenges all the time. As residents and active contributors to the community, we see the need, and we feel obligated to jump in and help by sharing our skills and expertise for the good of the city.