By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON Union Leader Correspondent
Mar 20, 2019
NASHUA — The Gate City is being honored for its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.
Nearly three years ago, Nashua became the first city in New Hampshire to accept a challenge from the White House to ensure that youth of all color would have the opportunity to overcome barriers to success.
By participating in the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the city also formed the Nashua MBK Diversity and Cultural Competency training program.
This week, the Diversity Workforce Coalition and the New Hampshire Health and Equity Partnership recognized Nashua’s training program for its excellence in diversity and inclusion.
“I’d like to congratulate the 15 cultural competency trainers on their recognition — a well deserved award,” Mayor Jim Donchess said in a statement. “Nashua MBK continues its strong commitment to promote diversity and inclusion and to maintain the mission of the MBK Community Challenge. I’m so proud of the work the trainers circle has done to cultivate such a valuable training program.”
According to a release, the training program is designed to enhance cultural competency initiatives in Nashua organizations, while also facilitating skills for potentially difficult conversations.
The program helps participants explore the concepts of diversity and culture by recognizing personal values, beliefs and biases, says the release.
With children in the city school system who speak more than 30 languages, in addition to a large percentage of students who are minorities and a large number of children facing economic disadvantages, Nashua is full of diversity, Donchess said earlier.
By accepting the MBK Challenge, Nashua committed to a full and extensive review of its policies and resources associated with early childhood education, third-grade reading and math levels and violent crime involving children: A local action summit was held to launch a plan of action for reassuring that children enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally ready to learn; that they can read and compute at the third-grade level when they are actually in third grade; and that they remain safe from violent crime.
“MBK has challenged me to be a better leader and a more intersectional advocate for the issues many young people in my community face today,” said Jordan Thompson of Nashua, one of 22 men chosen for the 2019 “MBK Rising!” summit last month in California.
Thompson is one of several MBK participants working to enrich the lives of marginalized residents in the Gate City.