Better together: Noblesville Diversity Coalition unites residents

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Members of the Noblesville Diversity Coalition know discrimination isn’t a relic of the past. It still exists today. The group formed in 2018 in to educate on community diversity.

“It basically formed in February 2018 as an informal group brought together by (Noblesville Schools Supt.) Dr. Beth Niedermeyer,” said Bob DuBois, Noblesville Chamber of Commerce president and member of the NDC board. “It wasn’t really together as a group but rather together as a community to have a conversation about things she was seeing in our community that deserved discussion regarding diversity.

“After the second meeting, we all came to the conclusion this was something that required some organization and some long-term commitment. Hosting a couple of community events and activities wasn’t going to move the needle on aiding our community.”

Entities such as the chamber, schools, faith-based groups, city government and residents responded with a desire to be a part of the group.

Celestine Bloomfield of Storytelling Arts of Indiana performs at Noblesville High School during the Noblesville Diversity Coalition’s Feb. 27 “Black History Through Stories” event. (Photos by Sadie Hunter)

“Within the first four months of existence, we started to get a little bit of structure,” DuBois said.

NDC Board President Dana Randall joined the group in 2018.

“That was the point I said we need to put committees in place and have some formal leadership,” Randall said.

During its first year, the NDC hosted a series of events to spark community conversations about a variety of topics related to diversity, inclusion and equality.

“The idea is for Noblesville to be a welcoming, inclusive community for everyone from age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and identity,” Randall said.

In 2019, the group organized its first events for Black History Month and provided direction to members on how to deal with diversity in the community.

“Last year was a lot of learning from the board. We brought in experts and did some training and did a cultural diversity assessment,” Randall said. “We went out to conferences and brought in some professors on community transformation around race.” 

“They were some of the best and brightest in this field,” DuBois said. “The cultural competency assessment we did on each one of us as individuals and collectively as a group was to understand where are we in this journey of understanding and, at least for me, that was fairly enlightening about thinking where I was and understanding folks and where I am and realized I had some work to do.”

The internal planning allowed NDC to create a strategic plan, which led to realigning the group’s committees and leadership. It also led to the NDC receiving its 501(c)3 nonprofit status in November 2019.

The group also is active with different organizations in Noblesville.

“That’s one of the pieces that is so powerful about our coalition and the board is, we have standing appointments with the president of the chamber, the superintendent of schools and the mayor for the city,” Randall said. “It shows there’s a city commitment to what we’re doing. (The NDC) has got support from the influencers in our city as well.”

For more, visit the Noblesville Diversity Coalition Facebook page.

Ellis Tarver Jr., a sophomore at Noblesville High School, tells a story as Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in 1955. Tarver’s performance was part of the Noblesville Diversity Coalition’s Feb. 27 “Black History Through Stories” program at Noblesville High School.

Upcoming celebration

A cultural fair is tentatively scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. May 29, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Noblesville Diversity Coalition is presenting the cultural fair at Federal Hill Commons.

The event will include food, music, art, activities and games.

“It’s a chance for people to tell the story of their home country, and some may not have grown up in those countries, but their household culture is different,” board member Bob DuBois said.

The event is free.


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