Diversity in cities has become a popular topic of debate. Scottsdale is attempting to make that debate positive by educating the public.
In the past few years, diversity has become a challenge all cities have faced. Residents have started to question if their town is diverse and inclusive of all. Scottsdale recently started a campaign called Scottsdale for All, that began in the summer of 2018. This project was started by Sharon Cini, the Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager.
Sharon Cini grew up in Winslow, Arizona close to the reservation. She was surrounded by many American Indian people, like herself. They taught her the importance “to give back and keep a balance on earth.” said Cini. This is one reason she took the job she has today. The second was when she entered the Navy for four years, at 17-years-old. “Having that experience created a global and world view for me” said Cini. This created a respect for all people in Cini that she now gets to grant to others.
Cini has lived in Scottsdale for 10 years and has been on the Diversity board for five years. One of her main jobs is “identifying key human emotions that lead to racial remarks or issues,” said Cini. She brings events like Discover India and the Native American festival to Scottsdale to educate the residents on other cultures. She feels that if people understand one’s culture, they will have more respect for it.
Their most recent project is the Scottsdale for All campaign. The goal of Scottsdale for All is “to highlight the cities diversity and promote the values of the golden rule city.” said Cini.
The campaign is social media based and attempts to highlight diversity in the city. This is done through videos, posters, profiles and storytelling. They want people to get used to the word diversity.
Nabisubi Musoke, is a woman of color, who has lived in Scottsdale for almost four years. “I just learned about the campaign, so I can’t really express an opinion as to whether or not it’s helping. The fact that I didn’t know about it as a minority may indicate they have some work to do in terms of awareness.” said Musoke.
She at times feels uncomfortable in public places, because there are few women of color living in Scottsdale. Musoke said, “A few months ago I walked into Olive & Ivy to meet my friend for brunch and all eyes were on me since I was literally the only black person in the entire restaurant. That can be a little uncomfortable.” Musoke moved from New York City, which has a very diverse community. This made the transition to a smaller town like Scottsdale a challenge.
“It would be nice to see different cultures, races celebrated to bring more awareness to the majority as to the value that diversity brings. I saw no acknowledgement in Scottsdale for Black History Month when they have banners for things like ScottsDazzle, Restaurant Week etc.” said Musoke. She also believes the committees that promote diversity should have people of color, “so our voices can be heard on issues that directly impact us” said Musoke.
Although the city is making an effort to bring awareness to diversity issues. They may need to step it up in order to gain more public awareness.