Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Marion Porterfield and Damonni Farley get my vote because of their actions and what they have already demonstrated, and we know that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.They get my vote because I strive to be part of a City Council with members who are open and receptive, and it’s essential that the Schenectady City Council work together, listen to our constituents and one another, and come to consensus as a governmental body that cares about all the citizens of our fine city.On Election Day, you’ll find Marion Porterfield on the Democratic line. Damonni Farley, who is a registered Democrat, can be found on the Working Families line.Leesa L. PerazzoSchenectadyThe writer is president of the Schenectady City Council.More from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady department heads: Budget cutbacks would further stress already-stretched departmentsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesMotorcyclist injured in Thursday afternoon Schenectady crashSchenectady man dies following Cutler Street dirt bike crashEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists On Election Day, I plan to vote for Marion Porterfield and Damonni Farley for Schenectady City Council. I’m still considering what I will do with my third vote.I will vote for Ms. Porterfield and Mr. Farley because they have demonstrated that they believe in the same level of transparency and openness that I do and that the citizens of Schenectady deserve.I’m confident that when groups of engaged and passionate citizens come forward with their concerns, Marion and Damonni will actively listen and work toward solutions that are effective and beneficial for as many people as possible. Both are excellent candidates because they fully embrace the responsibility and accountability that are integral to being true public servants.Marion Porterfield has demonstrated that she will ask and respond to the hard questions, gather information, talk with her constituents, carefully weigh the options, find sound courses of action and vote accordingly.Both Marion and Damonni have experience advocating for and working closely with community groups that don’t always get a seat at the table and whose voices often go unheard. It’s essential that we are vigilant about listening and incorporating the diverse concerns of our citizens into our discussions and our decisions.
Smith-Maddox said she hopes students take more initiative in the future to help expand DEI Week in the future. Friday marks the final day of USC’s third annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week, which featured nearly 100 events across campus. Organized by USC Student Affairs and the Office of the Provost, the week showcased film screenings, virtual reality presentations, panel discussions and live performances. Camille Gear Rich, the associate provost for faculty and student initiatives at the Gould School of Law, helped coordinate the events. She said one of the most important reasons for the week was for faculty and staff to gain a better understanding of the student body. Debra Langford, assistant dean of Diversity and Inclusion for the Marshall School of Business, said this was the second year that Marshall graduate students established their own programming for DEI week. The Marshall Graduate Student Association hosted a program on Monday titled “Marshall Takes the Mic!” The event invited Marshall graduate students to have a discussions on the theme “Imposter Syndrome & Belonging.” “Our goal here is to serve students,” Rich said. “Unless you understand the experiences and the background of the people that you’re attempting to serve, you can’t fully meet their needs.” USC Libraries’ Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, which aimed to remove bias from entries on the crowdsourced information website, was one event put on for the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week. (Krystal Gallegos/Daily Trojan) Smith-Maddox also encouraged students to take advantage of the campus cultural centers, Graduate and Undergraduate student governments and Student Affairs to launch their own initiatives to expand on the diversity of the USC community. In addition to one-off events such as the Wikipedia “Edit-a-thon,” in which participants were given the chance to diversify Wikipedia’s content during a set time period, the week incorporated events like the “Allyship Series,” which held conversations with people from different marginalized communities. Natalie Oganesyan and Andrea Klick contributed to this report. Langford commended DEI Week for hosting events for diverse audiences that were not only centered on addressing issues in race and gender, but also other identities such as veteran status. Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Renee Smith-Maddox organized the week’s events with Rich. She credited the Provost’s office for providing the support necessary for DEI Week to happen. “You should be interested in the world around you,” Rich said. “We hope that by providing these spaces for conversation … people will begin to appreciate those around them at a new level.” “I think it has been absolutely outstanding,” Langford said. “Every one of the workshops that I’ve attended … the audience has been inclusive in terms of [gender, race, staff and students].” Rich said that when she helped create DEI week three years ago, there were less programs interspersed throughout the day. This year, the programs have expanded and included more people, including alumni, and events began as early as 8 a.m. and as late as 7 p.m. “Our students can take ownership and have agency,” Smith-Maddox said. “If your courses aren’t doing what you want your courses to do, if there is not a very expansive way of looking at diversity, equity and inclusion, then it’s time to ask.” Rich said one reason to be involved in DEI Week was, simply, decency. “I’m just really excited and grateful to see that we are continuing to grow,” Rich said. “I never thought when I started this three years ago that we would grow from 20 events to 100 events … It’s now stretching across both campuses.” “We know that diversity and inclusion is important when you’re talking about business,” Langford said. “To be successful, you’ve got to have cultural competency, you’ve got to understand inclusion.”