City Action & Initiatives
The City of Worthington has taken a number of steps in developing initiatives and programs focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion. Through community dialogue and research, these actions and initiatives are bringing the Worthington community together to address issues of discrimination and inequity and create solutions to ensure Worthington is a place where all people are welcome and safe. Additionally, internal policies and programs are being created to support these efforts and bring awareness and opportunity to City staff as they work together for the greater good of our community. You will find details of these actions and initiatives below as they are developed.
Council Resolution promoting Racial Equity
Worthington City Council passed a Resolution in June 2020: Recognizing the Impacts of Racism, Condemning Racism in All Forms, and Committing to Promote Racial Equity. See the Resolution here.
Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis
Columbus Public Health has declared racism a public health crisis in its service area of Columbus and Worthington. On Monday, June 1, 2020 the Columbus Board of Health authorized a Resolution to declare racism as a public health crisis in the City of Columbus and Worthington, which affirms the commitment of the Board of Health and Columbus Public Health to advocate for policies that achieve meaningful results to address the effects of interpersonal, institutional and structural racism. Columbus Public Health is Worthington’s contracted health agency for all public health-related issues, programs and initiatives.
City Council approved a Non-Discrimination Ordinance in May 2019, which clarifies that persons may not be treated differently in Worthington because of a protected characteristic. The Community Relations Commission recommended the ordinance to promote tolerance, respect and inclusion in the Worthington Community.
Internal City Staff Initiatives
The City of Worthington is actively working on a number of internal initiatives with City staff:
- Racial equity and implicit bias training was conducted with City Council members, department directors, and key City staff.
- An internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Team of City staff has been created and is developing additional training and programming opportunities for City employees.
- A variety of Division of Police policy issues are being explored and evaluated.
- Staff support and coordination is being provided for Community Relations Commission initiatives.
- The City is actively working to identify additional community-wide efforts that can be pursued, particularly in conjunction with community partners.
The Worthington community identified diversity and equity as one of seven specific visions for Worthington's future. A citizen-led Visioning Committee worked for over 18 months to collect input from community members and recently shared an overarching vision and seven vision statements that encapsulate what they have heard from the community about what Worthington should look like over the next 10-15 years.
The process included focus groups, public forums and workshops, surveys and a variety of other opportunities for people to share their input, values and visions. Participants included underrepresented populations and people of color who shared their input during focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and other feedback opportunities. This Vision shared here is one of seven that reflect how the community sees Worthington in the future:
Vision: Worthington is a diverse and equitable community
Worthington welcomes people across age, race, gender, ethnicity, orientation, gender expression, abilities, income, religion and politics. We are committed to systems, processes, resources, employment and public services that are accessible and fair for all. We recognize inequities and actively work to overcome biases and injustices that create barriers to full inclusion within our community. Diversity strengthens the social fabric of Worthington as we build authentic, lasting relationships and care for one other.
- Read the supporting principles for this vision
- Explore all the vision statements, principles and process materials
Community Relations Commission
The Community Relations Commission (CRC) works to promote an atmosphere of mutual understanding and cooperation among all members of the Worthington community. The Commission acts in an advisory capacity to Worthington City Council on community issues related to fair and equal treatment for all persons. The CRC annually sponsors the Good Neighbor Award, the Neighborhood Grant Program, and the Martin Luther King Community Celebration and many other programs of community interest. Community members are encouraged to get involved by volunteering with the CRC on one of its working groups focusing on Age-Friendly, Youth, and Racial Justice initiatives.
Featured CRC Programs:
The Worthington Community Relations Commission created this list of anti-racism resources to help our community understand and learn about race and the latest guidance on how to become an anti-racist.
Martin Luther King Community Celebration: Bringing us Together
Worthington community partners invite you to view the 2021 virtual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration. The program is presented virtually with a collection of music, remarks and reflections about King’s legacy from people in the Worthington community.
Documentary Discussion about Racism and Grassroots Activism
In January 2021, the Community Relations Commission partnered with the Wexner Center for the Arts for a discussion focused on racism and the power of grassroots activism as reflected in the powerful documentary, Cincinnati Goddamn. The program included a conversation with filmmakers April Martin and Paul Hill. The film was created over the course of several years with support from the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Studio program.
21-day Racial Justice and Social Equity Challenge
The City of Worthington Community Relations Commission partnered with Worthington Libraries to host a 21-day Racial Justice and Social Equity Challenge for the Worthington community. Through each step of this challenge, participants were able to build more effective social justice habits and learn more about issues related to voting, education, criminal justice reform and public health. Weekly Listening Circles connected participants and identified ways to dismantle racism and other forms of discrimination.
The Making of Metropolitan Inequality
Worthy Point of View
Worthington Police Chief Robert Ware shares his thoughts in a special This Week News column
Worthy Point of View: Worthington Police Value Listening, Learning, Accountability
A message from the Police Chief and City Manager
Worthington Police Chief Robert Ware and City Manager Matt Greeson share a message with the community about the City’s response to recent events. Read it here.
African American Worthington History
African Americans have been a part of Worthington since its earliest days. The story of the Black experience in Worthington from the early 1800s to today is complex and varied. While in some aspects, Worthington was unique and progressive in is social activism and integration, it is also true that discrimination and inequality have been present from the first years. This tour, developed by our partners with the Worthington Historical Society, will visit locations with ties to Black history and offer histories that will provide a glimpse into the African American story over the past two centuries.
In Recognition of Juneteenth - June 19, 2020
On Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, we recognize that 155 years later their ancestors and other people of color are still faced with unequal opportunity and racial discrimination. The Worthington community is committed to condemning racism, working to promote racial equity, and participating in the community dialogue to bring equal treatment and opportunity to all people.
As we stand together with our community in the ongoing fight for racial equity, we are proud to share some stories from Worthington’s history about some of our earliest residents and the community’s fight for the rights of free and enslaved Black people.