Mayor launches ‘One Auburn’ initiative to start community conversations on diversity, equality

Mayor launches ‘One Auburn’ initiative to start community conversations on diversity, equality

AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - The mayor of Auburn announced a new plan for the city Tuesday in an effort to discuss and confront the unrest we’ve seen across the country recently.

Mayor Ron Anders made a call to action, urging the community to confront topics like diversity and equality to find new ways to unite Auburn.

“I ask our community to put aside some time to free yourself up and to make your community better,” he said.

Anders unveiled the “One Auburn” initiative--an effort to encourage those in Auburn to better the community through discussion, understanding, and action.

The mayor’s five-part plan includes a proclamation commemorating Juneteenth, a video series with different voices highlighting diversity in the community, town hall panels, and a plan to build an African American heritage center in town.

“This does provide us the perfect opportunity to improve,” the mayor said.

Auburn Pastor Jamal Oliver weighed in on the mayor’s plan after the announcement.

“It’s a great start for us to have those conversations here in Auburn,” Oliver said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to recognize the work and the effort and the blood, sweat and tears of African American people in the past.”

Oliver said he’s glad the community is challenged to also step up and make difference.

“At some point, it has to go beyond the leadership of Auburn and it has to go to the citizens of Auburn,” he said.

According to Ashley Brown, the founder of the Lee County Remembrance Project, it’s imperative the community uses this initiative to take action, get educated, and work to understand other perspectives.

“Having that awareness and knowledge about what diverse populations, specifically what black individuals have experienced, not only historically, but also present day, is important,” she said.

Part of the plan also includes a citywide reading program, beginning with the book “Under our Skin” by Benjamin Watson.

Read more on the mayor’s full initiative here.

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