One by one, 22 local government officials, ranging from the Province of Gangwon-do and Gyeonggi-do to the Metropolitan Cities of Busan and Daegu, filed into the conference room at Genova Burns law firm in Newark, NJ, last week to learn more about diversity-related systems and policies from members of the American Conference on Diversity leadership team.
This special visit was spearheaded by the Local Government Officials Development Institute (LOGODI), a training institute under the Ministry of the Interior in the Republic of Korea that offers local government officials programs to improve their capabilities and further their self-development.
“Welcome to Newark, NJ, our business home,” said Angelo Genova, Esq., a Partner at Genova Burns and member of the American Conference on Diversity Board of Trustees, who opened the learning exchange. “As a Trustee of American Conference on Diversity, we support the value of diversity and inclusion because in this country we welcome all faces, all races, and all communities… We strongly believe that all should be treated fairly, and we hope the dialogue that we will have today will restore your faith in that principle.”
“The foundation of this country is rooted in immigration,” said American Conference on Diversity President and CEO Elizabeth Williams-Riley. “At our organization, we recognize and analyze the institutional structure of power and privilege that may go against equality and equity for all, and we help bridge the gaps by working on attitudes and behaviors through our programs.
Following a thought-provoking presentation on the organization’s mission as it relates to diversity accompanied by an interpreter, the meeting opened up to a question-and-answer session that included a discussion on changes in the US immigration policy under the Trump administration, the economic gaps within our society, and the role of the US legal system and the nonprofit sector in solving social-justice and other equity issues.
“We work toward building bridges between racial and economic divides through awareness, education, and advocacy,” said Ms. Williams-Riley. The local Korean government officials responded that they, too, experience challenges with economic disparities.
When asked how the United States addresses issues of inequality in basic social services such as housing, Mr. Genova clarified the importance of the US legal system: “Laws are adopted based on decisions of courts that require developers of buildings to make sure that a percentage of the housing is available to lower-income groups. This, unfortunately, sometimes corresponds to certain ethnic groups because of issues of racism in our country.”
Aligned with its mission to end bias and bigotry, the American Conference on Diversity delivers customized workplace diversity and professional-development trainings to companies large and small, educational institutions, and community organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. To learn more about these training opportunities, please visit our website. Contact us at 732-377-2081 or info@AmericanConferenceonDiversity.org to schedule a training session.
About the American Conference on Diversity
The American Conference on Diversity is dedicated to building just and inclusive schools, workplaces, and communities through awareness, education, and advocacy. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1948 as the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Today the programs, services, and initiatives of the American Conference on Diversity are among the most important work focused on creating a more inclusive society. It is the unfinished business of living in a highly diverse nation: educating and empowering our next generation of leaders, enhancing our workplaces, and helping to create inclusive communities. Visit www.AmericanConferenceonDiversity.org to learn more.
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