Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams’ Equity Roundtable has returned for a second year, with 40 members dedicated to making the City of Harrisburg a more diverse and inclusive capital city.
The roundtable, whose committees meet every month and then meet as a whole group bi-monthly, aims to use evidence-based best practices from professionals across the city, state, and country to increase equity in Harrisburg. This year, in an effort to streamline topics and have more concise conversation, the four subcommittees which started the roundtable in 2022 have merged into two (law/justice & health and education & workforce).
“These are social determinants of health. These are people issues. That’s humanity,” said Karl Singleton, City of Harrisburg Chief Equity and Compliance Officer. “These are community needs that this administration is focused on improving. But we can’t start talking about it with a large group. It has to be in chunks. Steel sharpens steel, and we are constantly learning.”
The central goal of Mayor Williams’ Equity Roundtable is to eradicate structural and systemic racial and economic disparities in the City of Harrisburg. In order to do that, members will bring their own expertise from the public and private sector.
Meetings are held entirely virtually in part to allow for a wide geographic range of participation. Subcommittees will meet the fourth Tuesday of every month beginning February 28. Whole group meetings, which include Mayor Williams’ participation, as well as all equity partners, will start March 14, and will take place on the second Tuesday of every other month.
“In order to think outside the box, we have to think outside the state (of Pennsylvania),” Singleton said. “We shouldn’t limit ourselves to geographic boundaries.”
Meetings in 2023 will include participation from higher education centers like West Virginia University, as well as more regional schools like Elizabethtown College, Susquehanna University, and Harrisburg Area Community College. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office is expected to take part in occasional meetings. There will also be participation from counties in Maryland with strong African-American representation, Singleton said.
“We are building DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) relationships out of state,” he said, adding that these partnerships will allow the City of Harrisburg to grow its base of minority-owned and controlled businesses.
During committee meetings, members will be asked to lead a 15-minute discussion, highlighting a best practice and/or idea that individual has undertaken in their day-to-day role which shows promise in addressing racial and economic concerns.
The 2023 Equity Roundtable includes the following members (alphabetized by first name):
Aiisha Herring Miller, Rebuild-City of Philadelphia; Alisa Harris, UGI; Amena Anderson, West Virgina University; Andre Campbell, Northwestern Financial; Andrea Fields, Bellevue Strategies; Angel Schuster, Penn State Health; Carla Hill, SWAG 4.0; Cate Barron, PA Media Group; Charlotte Katzenmoyer, Capital Region Water; Claire Osborne, Department of General Services; Danielle Martin, Temple HBG; Danielle Bowers, Harrisburg City Council President; Denise Pearson, PASSHE; Dennise Hill, City of Harrisburg-Community and Economic Development; Gillian Sumpter, KZM Consulting Firm; Gloria Merrick, Latina Hispanic American Community Center; Henry Francia, Mion Consulting; Jennifer Diaz, Goodwill Corporation; Jim Rogers, Dawood Engineering; John Sygielski, HACC President; Joseph Robinson, MLK Leadership Development Institute; Karlma Fitzgerald, UPMC Williamsport; Kyron Robinson, Pro Rank Business; Lynette Chappell-Williams, Penn State Health; Mike Pries, Dauphin County Commissioner; Myneca Ojo, City Manager-Seat Plesant, Maryland; NaJiba Benabess, Elizabethtown College; Dr. Oralia Dominic, HighMark; Pam Auer, Center for Independent Living; Reggie Irvis, PHEAA/Coldwell Banker (ret.); Regina King-Dykes, Landmark; Robert Bee, ABC27; Rogette Harris, Department of Health; Ron Baldwin, Amerihealth Caritas; Ruben Warren, Hollywood Casino; Ryan Unger, Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC; Sheldon Murray, Diversity Inclusion Professionals of Central Pennsylvania; Steve Bishop, Annie E. Casey Foundation; Steven Williams, PA Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network; Tameka Hatcher, EEO/ADA Officer; Tina Nixon, UPMC Harrisburg; Travis Waters, Harrisburg School District, CRO; William Slaton, Pennsylvania State Police.
“These are the foremost thought leaders in our community,” said Harrisburg Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams. “They are committed to the intentional equity and inclusivity this city needs.”