The City of Newark is soliciting applicants for a new diversity and inclusion commission, which will advise city council on issues of equity.
Created by council on Monday, the seven-member commission will be charged with recommending ways to increase diversity, improve recruitment and retention of diverse employees, educate the community about Newark’s overall diversity and help establish community partnerships to address equity concerns.
The commission will also act as a conduit for complaints regarding diversity, equity and inclusion in Newark, and members will serve as “trusted messengers” between underrepresented communities and the community at large, officials said.
Mayor Jerry Clifton first proposed the idea in 2019, and it has received renewed attention following the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.
"Newark is proud to be an inclusive community, but we recognize there is room for improvement," Clifton said Tuesday. "I appreciate the time and effort put into the creation of this commission, and council is excited to consider applications for appointments."
In a bit of fortuitous timing, the long-planned vote to create the diversity commission was the first ordinance voted on by new Councilwoman Dwendolyn Creecy, who was sworn in last week. Creecy is the first Black woman to serve on city council and only the second Black person to be elected in Newark. The first, civil rights leader George Wilson, left council nearly 60 years ago.
“I am honored to be able to be part of this ordinance," Creecy said.
Clifton and the council members will each nominate one member for the new commission, to be confirmed by a vote of the entire council. Members can be non-residents if they have unique knowledge, skills or ability or they have a connection to the city, such as working here or attending school here.
Officials anticipate the commission will also form subcommittees on specific topics that will include additional people beyond the seven commission members.
To apply for a seat on the diversity commission, visit newarkde.gov/113/Boards-Committees-Commissions. Contact the city secretary’s office at 302-366-7000 for more information.
The city is also seeking applicants for the ethics committee and redistricting committee, among others.