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Our statement of equity and justice

Declaration of the Board of Trustees of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District of its commitment to equity and justice against the ongoing impacts of racism in America

June 18, 2020

The death of Mr. George Floyd inspired marches and protests across Northeast Ohio and around the country as people joined voices for justice and equity, taking a stand against the ongoing impacts of racism in America.

Recent weeks have been met with anxiety and sadness, but also dialogue and resolve.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District exists to serve more than one million people from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds across our region.

Today, as a team, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District trustees and staff join individuals and organizations across the region in solidarity with the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in three ways.

First, we join our customers and all residents of Northeast Ohio in recommitting to these values. We will continue to embrace diversity, work for equity, and seek inclusion in all our work to condemn racism, injustice and inequality for African Americans and all others.

We will advance current initiatives like our Water Equity Task Force, affordability, Good Neighbor Ambassadors, and construction and related business-certification programs that are providing opportunity, relief, and support to the neighborhoods and residents of Northeast Ohio. These efforts are already well underway and must not be taken for granted. We recommit to their critical importance.

Second, we will seek to better understand the root causes of injustice and work towards real solutions that challenge and eliminate systemic and overt racism where we find it. We will do so while developing real sustainable efforts that result in equity for our customers.

Our core values drive our efforts, and this work begins internally. We will open dialogues between employees and promote a deeper awareness of the racial justice issues facing our community.

And third, we commit to listen, learn and do more.

While we have focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within our workforce and around our community, we cannot be complacent. We will not settle. This work does not end, and our community involvement must be ongoing.

Our CEO Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells spoke to employees directly on June 3, saying, “I ask that you do not look away (from the issues that have sparked the unrest we are experiencing)” she said. “This is happening in our community and our country and to our fellow Americans.”

Each of us must take time to face these facts as individuals and work together for change. We have done some good work to be sure, but we recognize that we must do more. This is no time to reflect solely on the good work of our past, but rather what we must do to advance the cause of equity and fight to eliminate the silence during times that historically have given place to systemic and overt racism.

We exist to serve our public and protect the environment. We exist to serve people. We will serve the public with integrity and ensure a better future for all Northeast Ohioans.

Read into the public record and passed as a Resolution of the Board of Trustees 184-20 at today’s Board Meeting.