Michael G. Harris, Pleasant Hill Mayor

Pleasant Hill’s diversity platform continues to aim for social justice

Michael G. Harris, Pleasant Hill MayorPLEASANT HILL, CA (Feb. 23, 2022) — In Pleasant Hill, we continue to work and strive to make everyone in our community feel welcomed and included.

As the world changes and evolves, our City Council and commissions continue to make sure everyone is respected and represented.

As mayor in 2017, I signed a proclamation declaring Pleasant Hill an open and welcoming community, one that values all its citizens and the contributions they bring to making the city an outstanding place to live.

Our commissions have continued that mission, striving for equity and inclusion in a number of ways. The Education Commission’s ARISE subcommittee has long worked to celebrate inclusion in our schools. One of the things they have done to help educate our students is create a Heritage Resource Document that is posted to the commission’s webpage www.pleasanthillca.org/education. This document provides resources and links to help the community to learn more about different cultures, their traditions and holidays.

In the wake of the death of George Floyd in 2020, the Pleasant Hill Police Department partnered with the Civic Action Commission’s Diversity Subcommittee to hold an online Town Hall to address issues of social justice at a very turbulent time in our nation’s history. This event continued on, becoming the online Zoom series Community Conversations.

Each session has focused on a different segment of the population, and the issues and challenges they face. Topics discussed have included the uptick in violence against the Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, social justice and the faith community, and the concerns and challenges faced by the Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities.

In 2021, the General Plan Advisory Committee recommended a broader approach to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. They advocated the creation of a Diversity Commission. At the May 17, 2021, meeting, the City Council approved the formation of a nine-member commission.

The Diversity Commission is broadly tasked with making recommendations to the City Council on accessibility, diversity and inclusion, including proposing appropriate diversity, social justice and equity training; proactively planning inclusive and welcoming events; advising the City Council on ways to recognize and reaffirm the mission of the council’s 2017 inclusion resolution; and working with the Civic Action Commission, Education Commission and Commission on Aging and their subcommittees.

In the fall, the Diversity Commission prompted the city’s first United Against Hate Week activities, requesting a proclamation by the mayor, ordering posters, and creating a video with the Commission, City Council and staff proclaiming that Pleasant Hill Stands United Against Hate.

This year, the Diversity Commission will continue to work with the Civic Action Commission, Commission on Aging and Education Commission to foster solid partnerships for new activities and programs.

Moving forward, I feel confident that these passionate and dedicated individuals will continue to find ways to bring the issues of diversity and inclusion to the forefront to make sure that all of our residents feel that their city welcomes and values them.

My goal is for our council, commissions and staff to continue working to ensure that the city of Pleasant Hill not only honors but builds on the proclamation I signed in 2017.

Email questions and comments for Mayor Harris to mharris4ph@gmail.com