JOPLIN, MO – This week marks one year since the Joplin City Council’s adoption of a diversity and inclusion proclamation, declaring that Joplin values diversity.

But has anything changed?

“The proclamation work started probably over two years ago where we recognized that from a chamber perspective, one of the things we need to do with regard to recruiting and retaining talent is to be able to recruit and retain, people of color and diversity.” Says Sergio.

That’s when Joplin Chamber of Commerce Leadership decided diversity would be the priority.

“We realized one of our first initiatives, or at least a priority should be, how do we recruit and retain people of color with regard to the workforce population of Joplin.” Says Sergio.

And what better way to show you mean business, than with pen to paper.

“I think it was valuable to put something in writing and saying how, you know how welcoming we want to be.” Says Ryan Stanley, Mayor.

On June 15, 2020, the Joplin City Council adopted a diversity and inclusion proclamation written by the chamber’s equity, diversity, and inclusion work group.

“To make sure that every citizen, no matter what their race, what their gender, what their ability, what their nationality, what their religion is to feels very included and welcome to the Joplin community.” Says Stanley.

“I know that the Joplin Chamber, the city council, through groups like Joplin for Justice, Unity in the Community, Joplin School Districts, that it’s just more awareness has happened.” Says Sergio.

One local community leader says he’s heard all the talk.

“I always thought it was a good thing for the city to step up and say hey we’re gonna try to move forward, be progressive.” Says Victor Sly.

But not enough action?

“This past year I haven’t seen any type of progress.” Says Sly.

Sly says currently there is no representation from the local NAACP chapter in the diversity workgroup.

“NAACP is a, is a national organization that do lots of things with communities all over the nation. So you would think they would have contacted our office, and let us know what was going on.” Says Sly.

But Sly says at least this workgroup is a step in the right direction and both mayor Stanley and Rizo agree.

“We still have a lot of work to do in the community to be more welcoming, to be more inclusionary, to be more diverse.” Says Stanley.