In an effort to be more intentional with future programs and initiatives, Kendall Whittier Main Street created a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility committee.
Kendall Whittier Main Street is a nonprofit organization that inspires the ongoing revitalization and growth of a historic and cultural neighborhood in Tulsa, striving to transform it back to a thriving, walkable commercial district.
Comprised of KWMS Board members, staff and volunteers, the committee will focus on projects that improve diversity of business and business owners, are inclusive of multiple communities and individuals, and enhance Kendall Whittier’s accessibility to all.
“Main Street has always been interested in inclusive growth and how to best serve a diverse population,” Calvin Moniz, KWMS DEIA Committee Co-Chairman. “But we’ve learned a lot in the last year or so, namely, how much we still have to learn.”
To do so, the committee is starting A Book Club on Diversity and Equity, or ABCDE for short, where Board members, volunteers and staff can read about and discuss topics of race, accessibility and inclusion and how they relate to the organization’s revitalization and community work.
“And then it dawned on us that if this is something that will be beneficial to Kendall Whittier Main Street, it is something that other Tulsa Main Street programs may want to participate in, too,” said Jessica Jackson Seay, executive director of Kendall Whittier Main Street. “We invited others and now have Board members and staff from multiple Destinations Districts committed to ABCDE and learning how to do our jobs better!”
The Book Club will meet monthly, tackling a book every month or two, depending on the book’s length. The first book — to be read in June and July — is So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo. The next two will include 35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say by Dr. Maura Cullen and Inclusify by Stefanie K. Johnson.
“I’m really excited about the book club. Not only will it help me grow as an individual, but it will help us be more intentional about including more voices into the work we do at Main Street,” Jackson Seay said.
The DEIA Committee will also be conducting an internal audit of the organization’s programs, events and services to serve as a baseline as it develops a vision and initiatives for the future.
“We’re going to take a deep look at what we do now, and how we can be more thoughtful in the future,” said Sydney Alison, Community Engagement Coordinator for Kendall Whittier Main Street. “Being well-meaning is one thing, but taking real, concrete steps to be more inclusive is much more valuable.”
Anyone interested in joining KWMS’ DEIA Committee should email info@visitKendallWhittier.com to inquire about meeting times.
KWMS is a 2020 Great American Main Street Award winner and an Oklahoma Certified Cultural District.