BARRINGTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The town of Barrington has hired a diversity consultant to take a broad look at the community and help create ways for everyone to feel included.
“We don’t have a very diverse town and so it takes intentional work to make sure that we’re very inclusive to those who might be underrepresented here,” Barrington Town Councilor Jacob Brier said.
Over the next five months, Diversity Consultant Adam Mastoon will help guide stakeholders, who choose to participate, in an educational series targeting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The stakeholders include government officials, faith leaders and members of other community groups.
As Brier explains, there’s more to diversity than just race, he says it’s about allowing everyone to have a seat at the table.
“There’s also age diversity, socioeconomic diversity, diversity in terms of professions and hobbies people have,” he said.
Members of the community believe hiring a consultant is a good step in a progressive direction.
“I actually have a diverse family and so I think that could just bring more to this community,” Barrington resident Nicole Genore said.
The plan is to start with three key points: reflection, relation, and then reform.
Those who participate will learn about the history of cultural identity and explore experiences from those directly impacted by various forms of discrimination. Then a decision will be made on how to move forward.
Back in August, 12 News reported the story of a Barrington man caught on camera spouting racial slurs.
Brier explains the decision to hire a consultant was in the works prior to this incident. However, he emphasizes how the move to hire someone to look into diversity, equity, and inclusion is important in creating a more inclusive community.
“We have to highlight the better attributes and make sure that the rough spots aren’t polished over, but are actually addressed,” said Brier.
After this initial discovery phase brought on by the consultant, the town will then need to decide if it’s necessary to form a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee to help enhance policies and create new ones.