Mayor's Commission on

Unity, Diversity, and ProsperityCIRCLE logo

Our Mission

As stated in the By-Laws the purpose of the Mayor’s Commission on Unity, Diversity and Prosperity is to create a community where every person is valued and presented with equal access to opportunities.  The Commission will pursue its mission by gathering information, data and public input in order to provide and/or recommend policies, strategies, education efforts and programs to the Mayor, and, upon the Mayor’s invitation, to City Council.

History

In February 1987, the Columbus Consolidated Government received complaints that disparities in hiring practices, treatment, and promotion policies existed between male and female workers.

A Committee was then appointed by Mayor Jernigan to "identify problems, make progress reports to the Council, and finally, develop a plan of action addressing problems, and make recommendations for corrective action."

After a thorough study the Council Committee recognized that a continuous and concerted effort must be made in order to eliminate or minimize barriers which hinder women and minorities in reaching their full potential. Women and minorities make substantial contributions to our government and community through their skills, knowledge, and talents. The reality ; however, was that many obstacles still remained, both institutional as well as attitudinal, which prevented women and minorities from exercising real choices and participating to their full extent.

To facilitate in this effort, the Committee recommended the establishment of an external "Commission" of concerned citizens to provide input and address community issues.

This Commission was therefore charged with creating a positive climate in this community with respect to women and minorities through public relations efforts, education, and the establishment of viable goals and objectives. Under this charge the Commission became the Mayor's Commission on Unity and Diversity.

New Focus

In 2012, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson expanded the mission of the Commission formerly named Mayor's Commission on Unity and Diversity. With the collaboration of One Columbus and the Martin Luther King Steering Committee, the Commission became the Mayor's Commission on Unity, Diversity and Prosperity. Its projects will address the issues of poverty and economic segregation. "Economic segregation correlates with other demographic divisions. Today it necessarily segregates people by race, gender and age, because more women tend to live in poverty, more elderly tend to live in poverty, more minorities tend to live in poverty."

In addition, the Commission will undertake two long-standing community events, the Martin Luther King Unity Parade of Excellence and the Diversity Forum, a televised discussion of issues related to the mission of the Commission and previously a signature event of One Columbus.

Membership is comprised of former members of Commission, One Columbus, the Martin Luther King Steering Committee and other citizens who have experience in the area of prosperity initiatives or other initiatives akin to the mission. All members are appointed by the Mayor.

Commission Members

  Organization
Farhad Alifarhani Columbus Consolidated Government
Jackie Blalock Civil Service, Ft. Benning
Lee Brantley WTVM
Lyndon Burch Director, Girls Inc.
Ken Crooks Retired
Ellis Dandy Ft. Benning, EEOC Officer
Dr. Jimmy Elder Pastor, First Baptist Church
Frank Etheridge, III Retired, Suntrust Bank
Rev. Johnnie Flakes, III Pastor, Fourth Street Baptist Church
Rev. Marcus Gibson Pastor, Shady Grove Baptist Church
Elaine Gillespie Field Rep, Congressman Bishop
Jack Goldfrank CSU, Executive in Residence
Robert Granger President, St. Francis Hospital
Lauren Mescon Circles in Columbus, Anti-Poverty Initiative
Jane Nichols CEO, Goodwill
Shankeia Pollard Private Nursing / EITA, Inc. (Education is the Answer)
Pedro Rodriquez Citizen
Wanda Rutledge TIC Federal Credit Union
Tiffani Stacey Citizen, Resident of Public Housing
Dr. Florence Wakoko Studstill Professor, CSU
Jessica Webb Taylor CPA
   
Ex Officio Members  
Christie Bevis Home for Good
Melvin Blackwell Muscogee County School District
Seth Brown Office of Crime Prevention
Amy Bryan Chamber of Commerce
Amy Carbajal Community Redevelopment, CCG
Belva Dorsey Enrichment Services
Kim Jenkins Open Door
Corey Neal DFCS
Terri Parodi United Way
Trip Tomlinson Housing Authority
   

Scheduled Meetings

Commission meetings will be held on the 4th Thursday of each month unless otherwise arranged. Each meeting will be held in the Ground floor conference room of the Government Center at 4:00 p.m.

Members of the Commission should call 706-225-3163 if unable to attend the monthly meeting.

Commission Projects

Objective: The object is to look at a broad range of issues related to age, race and gender as they may be connected to issues of poverty and prosperity. We will endeavor to update the important discussion of those cultural elements that sometimes divide us. This is meant to be a "think tank" type organization that studies information and data related to those issues that sometimes separates our community. The Commission also will develop strategic efforts to bridge those gaps. The Commission will recommend policy direct to the Mayor and can inform Council on legislative issues that may touch on the Commission's mission.

  1. 1) Analysis of Census Data and studies of poverty in Columbus, Georgia to determine the state of poverty in the City and its correlation to factors of age, gender or minority status. The analysis should also look at whether there are clusters of poverty which segment our population by income.
  2. 2) Select prosperity initiatives to participate in and support as a Commission project.
  3. 3) Catalogue Prosperity Initiatives or Anti-Poverty Initiatives in our community, which do more than minister to the needs of those living in poverty, and, instead, provide enabling resources to lift them into a sustainable way of life.
  4. 4) Diversity Forum – Televised community discussion about the issues of Diversity and inclusion. The Diversity Forum will continue to build on its five year history to bridge various gaps of ethnicity, gender and even our ability to engage in civil discourse.
  5. 5) Martin Luther King Day Parade- the annual parade is one of the many events held each year in commemoration of all Dr. King sought to do to unite our world. Typically held the Saturday before the King Holiday.