The Chippewa Valley Transformation Project gets serious about strengthening diversity and inclusion efforts

Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 5:39 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - More than 55 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted, there is still work to be done to ensure equality in America. One group aims to make changes in the Chippewa valley, now recognized as the Chippewa Valley Transformation Project.

“Things have changed, things have changed for the better but they haven’t changed as much as they should have,” said Edmund Manydeeds, civil trial lawyer.

The Chippewa Valley Transformation Project was created for that reason after the death of George Floyd. It was born as a city led initiative started by retired City Manager, Dale Peters.

“These problems have been around for a long time and over the last 30 years there have been many attempts to do things that have been well intentioned but nothing ever happened. It’s our goal to make something happen with this,” said Manydeeds.

Manydeeds is part of the team, working to create meaningful action that includes a range of voices, which is what this group has, and started with, back in October.

Each volunteering their time, including Dang Yang the Director of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

“We don’t want to just do things for the sake of doing things we want to do this well,” said Yang.

A variety of backgrounds with a single mission.

“All that we have in common certainly is our commitment to the goals of the Chippewa Valley Transformation Project namely ensuring that we’re looking at actionable items that are going to lead our and progress our community towards a more equitable space,” Yang said.

The new group knows that change is needed.

Pablo Foundation Executive Director Maivue Xiong says the group plans to build on existing measures.

“The purpose of the transformation project is to complement those additional activities that are going on. It’s not meant to overshadow or take over, it’s to identify what else is going on out there and be able to collaborate and work alongside them.”

Berlye Middleton, once served on the Eau Claire City Council and knows the difficulty affecting change.

“This is what Dale Peters, this is what his vision was. This is also the vision the City Council resolution was in 2000 so it’s only taken us 20 years to get to this point.”

The Transformation Project is still in the early stages. The group says in order for their work to have an impact we all need to start having honest conversations with people in our social circles.

They also say there won’t be any timelines for future initiatives in order to allow for flexibility and staying open to feedback. It expects to have a website up in the coming weeks.

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