Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative

Beginning in November of 2016, a group of community leaders and citizens, including representatives from the City and the school district, have been engaged in dialog to understand the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Hastings. Periodic discussions presented ever growing and changing statistics, a broadening understanding of diversity, and conversations with a variety of residents to understand personal experiences, concerns, needs, and aspirations for the Hastings community.

Community leaders are now working to expand the conversation and facilitate community-wide learning opportunities in order to embrace cultural differences and commonalities throughout the city. A partnership with the YMCA Equity Innovation Center was approved for funding and began work in September 2018 on an 18-month journey. 

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Latest Updates

Since 2018, community members and stakeholders have been working together to analyze the increasing diversity in Hastings and learn about opportunities to improve community support for inclusion and equity. For about two years, this group hosted 13 community events including learning opportunities (Hidden Brain & Unconscious Bias, Bridging Cultural Differences), two community conversations, a Leadership Think Tank, five Equity Labs, and two Train-the-Trainer sessions. In addition, community members began hosting spin-off events including the Hastings Reads author series, the Longer Table event, and the Building Bridges event “Reclaiming Our People and History.”

Through these efforts, three main areas of opportunity specific to Hastings emerged: Increasing Cultural Competency, Providing Trust and Safety for All, and Bridging Community. These three themes were heard repeatedly throughout community dialogues and round table discussions. These areas of focus guide the efforts of this community initiative.

THRIVE in Hastings

As the Equity Labs ended and themes started to emerge from the data, a new steering committee was formed to begin the next phase of work. This community partnership includes members from the school district, Community Ed, YMCA, Chamber of Commerce, local non-profits and city residents. While conversations around diversity and equity have proven to be challenging at times, one area of agreement is the idea that Hastings aspires to be a premier community where ALL people can live, work, visit, and thrive. A rebranding effort was completed around this concept and the initiative is now known as THRIVE.

A new phase of community engagement began in August 2019 with monthly speakers and learning opportunities covering a variety of topics that assist in continued learning and conversations around the three identified areas of opportunity. Each month also includes a community conversation on THRIVE Thursday (the third Thursday of the month).

In addition, 15 leaders from both the public and private sectors participated in an Equity Leadership Institute training through the YMCA Equity Innovation Center. This in-depth training worked to increase understanding of self-awareness as related to intercultural relationships, promote a positive work culture that supports equity and inclusion, and allow for effective communication among diverse populations. If you are interested in sending a participant from your business or organization to the Equity Leadership Institute, please contact Derrick Jaeger at the Hastings Area YMCA.

Past Events and Conversations

Community and Initiative Information