Bringing together a small group to hold a conversation on diversity and inclusion in Eastern Iowa

These past few months, I’ve been digging into the state of diversity and inclusion in Eastern Iowa. Just how welcoming and open is the region to diverse people of all types? My goal has been to shed light on what’s working, beginning by focusing on diversity in Corridor businesses. While I hope to bring attention to Corridor businesses who are supporting diverse populations, I know there is still a lot of work left to be done. That’s part of the reason why I’m hosting a conversation next Wednesday focused on improving things here in the Corridor. I’ve invited a small group of community members who are advocates of diversity in their own respective realms. My hope is that bringing this group together will lead to solutions we can all support to further make Eastern Iowa  a welcoming, open place to all. One of the guests I invited is Karl Cassell, executive director of the Regional Economic Development Institute in Cedar Rapids. RED-I is working to support black and minority-owned businesses in the region. His organization is also connecting aspiring entrepreneurs with the right resources, such as members of the small business lending community. Jean-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas is executive director of the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission. The commission recently released preliminary findings from a report that analyzed the state of equity across the city of Cedar Rapids. The State of Equity report revealed disparities in education throughout the region. That’s part of the reason I invited Ken Morris Jr., the manager of student equity in the office of learning and leadership at the Cedar Rapids Community School District. We will also…