Goshen commission announces fall community meetings

Evan Miller, chair of the Goshen Community Relations Commission, speaks to city council Tuesday.

GOSHEN — The Goshen Community Relations Commission has three community conversations planned this fall.

CRC Chair Evan Miller introduced the schedule to Goshen City Council Tuesday and encouraged council members to attend.

The meetings follow a session in April that was organized with Goshen Community Schools, which Miller said drew a very positive response.

The upcoming sessions are:

n Sept. 26 from 6-8 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club, 306 Crescent St. The discussion will focus on what is going well in the city’s schools and where growth might be needed.

n Oct. 24, 6-8 p.m., Schrock Pavilion in Shanklin Park, 411 W. Plymouth Ave. The talk will address leadership and power in the city.

n Nov. 14, 6-8 p.m., Boys and Girls Club. The session will allow attendees get to know others in the community by listening and sharing their stories.

Mission and principles

Miller also shared with council the new mission statement that CRC members recently approved. It says the commission “serves Goshen by developing programs and policies that aim for a city without racism or discrimination of any kind, and build capacity for creative problem solving, resiliency, understanding and compassion among the diverse people in our community.”

He said their goal was to craft a statement that answers the questions of what they do, who they serve and what benefit they provide. They also took another look at their stated principles, which were developed in 2009.

“We added a phrase, ‘honor dignity.’ We talked not just about open communication but listening to diverse voices in the community,” he said. “We talked about constructive communication, not just open communication, because open communication can be very destructive and we wanted to emphasize our goal of making it constructive.”

Both actions were part of the rethinking and restructuring the commission has done over the past year. The commission traces its roots to the formation of the Human Relations Commission in 1994, a joint effort by the city, the Goshen Ministerial Association and the Goshen Chamber of Commerce to address complaints of discrimination.

Miller remarked that he joined it over two years ago himself, because he was concerned with the level of polarization in the world.

“For me personally, I realized I had to get out of my Facebook bubble and engage more directly with people who were different than myself. Getting out of my bubble has forced me to rethink many assumptions and beliefs,” he said. “At the same time, it increased my appreciation for how deep-seated racism and discrimination are in our country, how close to home they are and how much damage they do to all of us in our community.”

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