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Effingham Co. highlights importance of diversity & inclusion

Alongside the SIDC the county hosted their first ever Diversity & Inclusion Conference
Effingham Co. Diversity Inclusion Conference
Effingham Co. Diversity Inclusion Conference(Sam Bauman WTOC)
Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 3:32 PM EDT
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau Effingham County has one of the least diverse populations when compared to surrounding counties.

But as more people begin to move into this growing area that’s bound to change.

Thursday they hosted their first ever Diversity and Inclusion Conference.

Although admittedly, for some the discussion of diversity can stir up some uncomfortable or negative feelings.

“They think it’s going to be talking about hating one group or of course, maybe someone did something bad to another group,” said Lameisha Kelly, Executive Director of Strategic Business Development & Governmental Relations for Effingham Health Systems.

But Thursday’s Conference was all about changing the way we think.

“What we’re doing today is kind of critical,” said South African native Emra Smith.

Changing the way we see other races.

“I’m hoping that a lot of people here are understand that the Hispanic culture is already posed to lead rather than be led,” said Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Alfonso Ribot.

Changing how we speak, “we hear words like crazy, too assertive, too loud,” said Kelly.

Changes not meant to pull us apart, but instead to find away to bring us all together.

“The idea is to begin a conversation in our community about the importance of diversity,” said Effingham County Chamber of Commerce CEO Andrew Cripps.

A conversation that brings people from all different backgrounds to the same table.

With a shared goal, making Effingham County not only a great place to live, but a living example of what community looks like.

“One of my dreams is that we can be a beacon of light to a ton of other counties, states. That we can really shine in the United States as a United people,” said Smith.

Again, this was the first time the Savannah Interagency Diversity Council has expanded into Effingham County, but they hope it won’t be the last.

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