DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Department was created in December 2018 by the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority Board of Commissioners. Our purpose is to help make the Metroparks a more just, more accessible and more enjoyable park system for everyone in Southeast Michigan.
Our approach to DEI is based on our unwavering belief that the Metroparks were created for all the people of Southeast Michigan. And that the Metroparks are at their best when all people feel welcomed, respected and valued by our organization and across our footprint.
Since our founding, we’ve focused on four key tentpoles: Collecting actionable data about DEI challenges and opportunities as they relate to the Metroparks; converting collected data into action; developing and implementing comprehensive staff training; and the commitment to serving ALL members in our region.
From building accessible playgrounds to providing internet hotspots in underserved communities to improving hiring practices to hosting focus groups across the communities we serve, DEI at the Metroparks is active, ongoing and focused on people. We are committed to staying ahead of the challenges the Metroparks face as an organization while being innovative and helpful partners to the community.
At the Metroparks, diversity, equity, and inclusion are intrinsically linked – one affects the other and we won’t succeed unless we succeed on all three. We’re here to be stewards not only of a leading metropolitan park system, but the public trust of a region that sustains us with its tax dollars and support.
We believe in a win-win approach to solving DEI challenges – when the parks are more accessible for everybody, the entire community benefits.
Our current initiatives include:
- Creating a custom training curriculum specific to the Metroparks’ unique needs and challenges. All Metroparks full-time, part-time and seasonal employees go through this training, which is regularly evaluated to ensure we’re achieving meaningful progress towards our goals.
- Coordinating ongoing, specialized training for the Metroparks Police Department, led by third-party experts in law enforcement to make sure that we’re implementing best practices for our team members and the communities they protect and serve.
- Making our hiring process more accessible to diverse candidates and establishing a values-based interviewing process to ensure a greater culture of equity and opportunity.
- Establishing partnerships across diverse communities throughout Southeast Michigan to help inform our programming, gain helpful feedback on our performance and increase visibility and accessibility to underrepresented groups across the Metroparks system.
Looking ahead, the Metroparks will follow up on our initial Climate Survey, assessing the progress we’ve made toward our diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives. We’ll continue to collect pertinent data (including customer surveys, census data, attendance figures and more) that will help us gauge the DEI culture at the Metroparks and identify opportunities to further enhance our offerings.
Building a culture more attuned to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion isn’t always easy. But we believe it’s always the right thing to do – and always worth the effort it takes. Honestly, addressing our DEI challenges and pursuing our DEI goals is an expression not only of the letter of the Metroparks mission, but the spirit of stewardship as well.
The Metroparks have always been about bringing people together. We affirm that responsibility and commit to making this park system better and more inclusive for all.