Breckenridge Social Equity Commission still ironing out its mission |

Breckenridge Social Equity Commission still ironing out its mission

More than a year after the Breckenridge Town Council voted to create the Breckenridge Social Equity Advisory Commission, the group is still working to define its goals and used its June 21 meeting to workshop its vision and mission statements.

While the commissioners are all eager to move forward, they first have to define what it is they plan to accomplish and identify their long-term vision.

“I think it’s incredibly important that we define the committee’s vision and mission prior to getting started so that we can stay on track and hold ourselves accountable at all times,” Commissioner Jason Smith said.

Commissioners agreed they wanted to focus on working toward racial equality, breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for those who need them. They also wanted to work toward more than just racial equity, supporting other marginalized communities, as well.

Commissioner and Breckenridge Town Council member Dick Carleton said regardless of the direction the commission takes, he thinks it’s important to discuss commissioners’ differing opinions so the group can weigh all options to decide what is best for the community.

“We’re not trying to have unanimous votes every time,” Carleton said. “We’re trying to have respectful, engaging discussions where we focus on the issues.”

Smith said he thinks the commission was created because the town recognized it did not have the perspective or experience to identify problems of equity. He thinks the next steps after finalizing the mission statement will be to identify where the commission can help.

“What we’re going to do is kind of an unknown,” Smith said. “If the town knew of all the inequitable things, they wouldn’t need the committee. So we’re there to help them define them and help basically advise the town.”

Commissioner and Town Council member Carol Saade noted that the language behind the mission and vision statements are important, but the substance behind them is even more important.

By the end of the meeting, the commission drafted a working vision statement and started to outline key points to hit in the mission statement. Commissioners agreed it’s likely they will return to the vision statement after working through the mission statement to ensure they align.

The working vision statement for the commission is “striving for racial equality, removing barriers to social equity, helping everyone thrive.”

During conversations, commissioners wanted to make sure the statement was inclusive and powerful, but actually said something rather than turning into a marketing slogan.

Commissioners agreed that what they came up with is a three-pronged vision that covers what they hope to accomplish.

They also grappled with how far into social equity the commission wants to go, with Carleton mentioning the importance of socioeconomic inequities.

“Even though it’s part of equity, I don’t think it’s one our committee is necessarily equipped to battle head on,” Smith said in the meeting, noting that the commission would provide any insight the Town Council might need on the topic.

Commissioner Jordan Burns said he would prefer to keep the vision statement relatively broad because people interpret certain terms differently based on their own experiences with them. Commissioners agreed but wanted to make sure the statement held a powerful meaning.

The commission also decided it would focus its work on the local community, noting that would in turn impact visitors to the town.

“You want the visitors to come and feel welcome and take that spirit with them back home,” Commissioner Alexandria Carns said.

While starting discussions on the mission statement, the commission emphasized the importance of transparency, accountability, education and creating policy changes and an anti-racist environment.

The commission meets on the third Monday of each month, and meetings are open to the public in person and via Zoom.

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