TEMPLE, Texas — Temple community members are concerned about the city's internal diversity program, even though the City of Temple says they are working to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
Temple residents are concerned the city isn't doing enough, claiming there's no longer a DEI Commission.
"When people see this, they get concerned about it," University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Retired Professor, Jose Martinez, said.
Martinez said he noticed this issue when he went on the City of Temple's website and realized someone deleted the DEI commission listing for Jan. He further explained how the council said nothing officially about this elimination on their agendas, though it is a public city matter.
Looking back at the summer of 2022, the city considered hiring an outside agency, The Nova Collective. However, after some pushback from the community, the decision was reversed.
In a previous statement to 6 News, the now former city spokeswoman, Kiara Nowlin, said the city was instead establishing their own internal DEI program.
"It's all still internally focused, will utilize city leadership, city staff and the DEI commissioning community members to make sure that a diverse diverse voices and diverse perspectives are still included in these efforts," Nowlin said.
However, the community still worries about the city's commission and its efforts.
"It's not listed as a commission and city council did not as I understand it, this thing should be given public notice for discussion," Martinez said. "They need official council action to have done something to it."
Public Relations Coordinator for the City of Temple, Nohely Mackowiak, gave the following statement about the current DEI initiatives:
"The City of Temple strives to be an employer of choice by employing a group of individuals that reflects our diverse community. We are committed to ensuring that our staff feel safe, welcomed and valued every day when they come to work. These initiatives can also lead to a wealth of ideas and perspectives that we may not have otherwise had. Employee success greatly contributes to the City operating optimally, and evaluating our organization through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion will allow the City of Temple to best serve our residents."
Hours later, Mackowiak added, "The City of Temple decided not to move forward with The Nova Collective in August 2022. The internally-focused DEI program is still in its development stage."
As for what the final product might look like or why DEI is missing on the city council's meeting, there are no updates. We will continue to update this story if it further develops.