Siouxland is home to incredible diversity. Our diversity is apparent in our neighborhoods, churches, grocery stores, and restaurants, but also in our workforce and school systems. However, while we may recognize this diversity, sometimes we don’t understand how important it is to ensure that these diverse voices are represented at all levels of government.
We all have very individual lived experiences, and those experiences influence what we prioritize and our perspective regarding issues the city is facing. For example, a person without a vehicle may rely more heavily on public transportation and emphasize having a well-connected, reliable bus system. A person with a disability, such as myself, might appreciate sidewalks that have curb cuts and don’t have heaving sections more than a majority of citizens. These diverse perspectives help elected officials make more informed decisions and forces them to think about how they may affect people in situations different than their own. Having individuals that vary in age, gender, occupation, and so on as elected officials can help prioritize city budgets and makes our community more attractive to diverse audiences.
If you feel that you have a unique perspective that is not yet represented, I urge you to consider running for public office. If you’re not ready for that big of a step, Sioux City has a number of boards and commissions that are looking for diverse voices. Our inclusive committee in particular requires numerous minority populations to be represented. Having diverse representation on these committees is essential for the exact same reasons as elected officials. When we are able to embrace and celebrate our diversity, we will grow stronger as a community.
By Alex Watters