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Utica DEI Community Partnership plans Unity March

Posted 4/16/22

UTICA — The Utica DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Community Partnership is calling on the Utica community help give voice to the voiceless and participate in a Unity March in downtown Utica …

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Utica DEI Community Partnership plans Unity March

Posted

UTICA — The Utica DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Community Partnership is calling on the Utica community help give voice to the voiceless and participate in a Unity March in downtown Utica on Thursday, April 21.

Attendees will gather at 5:30 p.m at the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency, 1100 Miller Street, and the march will begin at 6 p.m. The event will end at City Hall, 1 Kennedy Plaza. The route is approximately 0.6 miles in total.

The march will commemorate a similar downtown march held 31 years ago after men of color at Utica College (now Utica University) received a hate letter on Feb. 13, 1991. This march is a way to proactively address many of these similar concerns of inequity and injustice.

Community members are welcome to join for the full march, part of the march, or to meet at City Hall, depending on personal preference and ability, according to the announcement by the DEI Community Partnership.

The Utica Police Department will divert traffic to ensure participants’ safety, organizers said.

Several community leaders will speak at City Hall at 6:30 p.m., covering various topics of justice and humanity, including the themes of “Quality of Life in Our Neighborhoods” and giving voice to the voiceless, the program announcement added.

Among the scheduled guests include:

-Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri;

-Rev. Sharon Baugh, pastor at Hope Chapel AME Zion Church and president of the Utica/Oneida Chapter of the NAACP;

-Evon Ervin, Oneida County Legislator, D-20;

Jawwaad Rasheed, chair of the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties Board of Trustees, retired Oneida County Family Court support magistrate;

Dr. Tod Laursen, president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute;

Dr. Randy VanWagoner, president of Mohawk Valley Community College;

Dr. Laura Casamento, president of Utica University; and

Dr. Clem Harris, associate professor of history at Utica University.

There will also be an opportunity for participants to sign the DEI Community Partnership’s statement to commit to ensuring equity in the greater Mohawk Valley area.

The event is scheduled to end by 8 p.m.

For additional information, go to the Greater Utica
Chamber of Commerce events webpage, https://greateruticachamber.org.

The Utica DEI Community Partnership was established in September 2021.

The project seeks to bring together “area leaders passionate about uplifting the most silenced and marginalized among us,” the announcement said, adding the partnership “aims to lead from a proactive stance against the issues catalyzing racial and social unrest in its respective communities and society at large.”

“By partnering together, the group has been able to support its members and look ahead to facilitate positive activities and programs that promote awareness, engagement, action, and unity to examine and address social justice issues in our community,” the DEI partnership added.

Members include representatives from the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce; the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency, Inc.; Mohawk Valley Community College; SUNY Polytechnic Institute; and Utica University.

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