I commend the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake for taking the first step in seeking public input to the state of “inclusivity and diversity” in NOTL.
I am here now in my 15th year of residency and have come to love my home and the area.
That is not to say NOTL is without the problems that many places in our country face.
I, of white European heritage, was married for 53 years to a Black woman who passed away here in our home, which she had lovingly crafted garden she created, a set of friends who loved her.
However, and unfortunately, I can also describe racist incidents directed at her and us and people with us at various places and times here in NOTL. There was a NOTL Black Lives Matter march in which I participated, and in which others voiced similar experiences.
A town that is so storied, so interesting to visitors from all over the world, should not be almost uniformly white, aged and upper-middle class, dominated by that mentality. We lack diversity for a number of reasons and we should be planning to better this situation.
I therefore urge the entire citizenry of NOTL to do the survey questionnaire. Go to the town's Join The Conversation page via notl.org or find it directly at www.jointheconversationnotl.org/inclusivity.
This survey is a step in the right direction. Widespread participation would greatly increase viewpoints and prevent the exercise being just that, an exercise, instead of the first step to real action for a better, more inclusive and diverse community.
There then needs to be followed by a thorough, objective, scholarly and empirical analysis of the data.
Next there must be a series of public input meetings (perhaps guided by general proposals from the town staff) to what the citizenry sees as the steps that need to be taken for remediation of negatives identified.